A Scarborough man has been jailed for over six years for biting a defenceless woman in a “barbaric”, unprovoked attack in broad daylight.
The victim was bitten on the face and suffered a “nasty” wound or slit to her lip after Wayne Ford-Jones, 39, joined in an attack which had been started by his friend Molly Murphy, York Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor Chris Dunn said Murphy, 49, punched the woman and knocked her to the ground. The victim, who claimed she was also kicked, banged her head on the ground as she fell.
The victim, who was named in court, was then bitten by Ford-Jones during the “horrific” attack, before he was pulled off her by witnesses.
The attack happened in Regent Street, Scarborough, at about 11.40am on March 12, just after Murphy had been told to leave a pharmacy on nearby North Marine Road for unruly behaviour.
Police and an ambulance crew were called to the scene and the victim received on-the-spot treatment. She declined further treatment at hospital, but she has since had medical assistance and her “very-bad” facial injury will require plastic surgery.
As well as the “significant” bite mark to her lip, she also suffered a lump and bruising to her forehead.
Ford-Jones and Murphy were initially charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, but they denied the allegations and were due to face trial on Tuesday.
However, Ford-Jones admitted causing grievous bodily harm before a jury was sworn in. Murphy, of Leading Post Street, Scarborough, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, on the basis that she did not kick the victim.
The prosecution accepted Murphy’s claim and the case moved straight to sentence.
Mr Dunn said that before the attack, both Murphy and the victim had been inside the pharmacy, but they were asked to leave by the chemist due to the “state” Murphy was in.
Murphy, who had been hitting herself on the head with a bottle, began screaming, “Who’s going to get beaten up then?”, at the top of her voice.
After being ejected from the pharmacy, she began kicking a wall and “throwing her arms around” as Ford-Jones tried to move her along the street.
Murphy got into an argument with the victim and the “commotion” continued along North Marine Road on to Regent Street, where Murphy attacked her.
Witnesses saw Murphy walking “very quickly” away from the scene as Ford-Jones joined in the attack.
The court heard that Ford-Jones had initially acted as peacemaker between the two women but became embroiled in the incident as it got out of control.
In a bizarre turn of events, it emerged that Ford-Jones had been on a restraining order at the time to keep him away from Murphy because he was a bad influence on her. He was also on a community order and conditional discharge at the time of the incident following previous offences.
David Camidge, for Ford-Jones, said: “When together, these two can best be described as a toxic mix.”
He said that Ford-Jones - who also admitted breaching the restraining order by being in company with Murphy at the time of the attack - had alcohol and drug problems, as well as a record for “low-level” violence, theft and drug offences.
Allan Armbrister, for Murphy, said she was an “extremely-vulnerable” woman who suffered from “high anxiety” and had made bad “choices of partners”.
He said that Murphy, who has a previous conviction for violence, had “backed off” as soon as Ford-Jones joined the fray.
Jailing Ford-Jones for six years and seven months, judge Sean Morris told him: “What you did was a barbaric thing. You deliberately bit your victim, causing a nasty wound which is still causing her trouble today.”
Ford-Jones was also made subject to a five-year restraining order banning him from approaching the victim.
The judge told Murphy: “You caused all this (violence) by your behaviour.”
However, due to mitigating circumstances including her duties as a mother, she was given a 12-month community order with a four-month nightly curfew.
Det Con Rachel Hughes, of Scarborough CID, said after sentence: “This was a horrific, unprovoked attack, occurring at midday in broad daylight on a busy street, witnessed by innocent members of the public.”