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Thug ‘BIT an inch-long chunk out of a policeman’s ear’

PC Andrew Burton lost  part ofhis lower left lobe after wrestling with Shyaon Francis, 23, on Halloween last year

A thug bit a chunk out of a police officer’s ear and then stamped on his face during a stop and search on Halloween, a court heard today.

Shayhon Francis, 23, allegedly spat out the 2cm by 1cm piece of PC Andrew Burton’s lower left lobe after they wrestled on the floor.

But Francis claimed he just ‘nipped’ the officer’s ear because he was struggling to breathe after being pinned to the floor during an ‘over aggressive’ drugs search in Brixton, south London.

He denied he was aware he had bitten off part of the PC’s ear and was left ‘upset’ when he realised what he had done.

But jurors were shown horrific photographs of the part of the ear left on the pavement and the piece sewn back onto his left ear.

They were also shown the PC’s body worn footage of Francis suddenly approaching the officer and his face abruptly covering the camera before the screen goes dark.

Sounds of the officer ‘crying out’ from the stamp moments before Francis allegedly picked up notes of cash he dropped in the tussle and flees the scene was also heard in court.

Giving evidence at Inner London Crown Court, he denied headbutting PC Burton who has 15 years’ experience before sinking his teeth into his ear and fleeing.

Francis, who lives at a hostel in Lambeth, south London, claimed he lost balance after the officer approached him and held his forearms to search him.

He claimed he grabbed on to the PC’s forearms and came ‘face to face’ with him before they both fell to the floor.

Francis, who was ‘bigger… younger, fitter and faster’ than the PC, claimed he was initially wiling to be searched by the officer, denying he had drugs on him.

He told jurors: ‘I was willing as I showed him my hand but then I believed the officer was over aggressive.’

Francis claims he didn't attack the police officer  - but jurors were shown horrific images of the ears  

Francis claims he didn’t attack the police officer  – but jurors were shown horrific images of the ears  

‘We was rolling around on the floor for about a few seconds then he managed to get on top of me.  

‘He had one arm across my throat, my neck, and the other was holding one of my arms.’

He told jurors he tried to push the PC off and added: ‘Then I nipped him in ear because the push did not work.

‘I was struggling to breath, I couldn’t even speak to let him know he was causing me harm.’

Asked how he felt when he found out what he had done to the PC’s ear he said: ‘I was upset, I was shocked within myself to know I actually achieved that.

‘I regret my actions fully.’

But he maintained he had ‘no need to lie’ after prosecutor Paul Fairley asked: ‘It was easy enough for you to lift your head up to his ear despite his arm being across your throat.

‘Why could you not just simply push him off?

‘Are you really saying that you had no idea that you had cause that injury, to that extent?

‘What did you think was within your mouth when you spat it out in the pavement?’

Francis answered: ‘Once again I don’t recalling spitting it out at all.

‘There wasn’t even a thought process, it just happened.’

The prosecutor said the body worn footage of Francis’s body abruptly comes towards the officer allegedly showed the camera ‘shuddering’ due to a ‘headbutt in the proudest of definitions’.

Mr Fairley said: ‘He certainly wasn’t doing anything before you made contact.

Part of PC Andrew Burton's ear on the ground after it was bitten off

Part of PC Andrew Burton’s ear on the ground after it was bitten off

‘The truth, Mr Francis, is that you cannot accept that you headbutted him because to do so would simply show your mindset from the very beginning, won’t it?’

Francis replied: ‘I didn’t have a mindset of anything. That didn’t happen at all.’

Asked if he was accusing the PC of ‘lying’ to the court, Francis said: ‘I’m not here to judge anyone, calling them any names.

‘My head didn’t touch his head, if anything it would have touched his camera.’

Francis denied the PC had let go of him only when he stamped on his face.

The prosecutor said: ‘The PC says almost like a parting shot a stamp on the head or a stamp on the side of the face as he tried desperately to hang on to your fleece.’

Francis was arrested two days later after officers found him hiding in his partner’s home, jurors heard.

His DNA was found on the handlebars of a bike he left behind and he was recognised by another police officer who viewed the body worn footage, it was said.

Francis denies wounding with intent but has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of wounding without intent.

The trial continues.

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