Nativity finger-biter sent to jail

A father who bit off part of a love rival's finger at a children's nativity play in South Shields has been sentenced to 11 months in jail.

40-year-old Lee Wilkinson fought with Michael Dent at Harton Primary School in December 2011 during which he bit off the tip of Mr Dent's left little finger.

The court heard that the pair had been involved in a long-running feud after Mr Dent had an affair with Wilkinson's wife while he was working away.

"They both attended the school, with Mr Dent arriving in the queue behind the defendant.

When they saw each other, words were exchanged and Mr Dent suggested they go outside to have a fight.

A scuffle broke out and during the fight Mr Dent put his hand in the defendant's mouth.

The defendant then bit hard on the finger. Mr Dent forcibly pulled his hand away and the injury then occurred."

– Bridie Smurtwaite, Prosecutor

Passing sentence Judge Simon Hickey said he was unable to suspend sentence because of the nature of the offence.

Wilkinson admitted wounding and a public order offence.

"I can't suspend the sentence, it must be immediate, although I am very conscious that it will impact on your life and your children.

That is the least I can impose given my duty and what the public must view as a very serious offence."

– Judge Simon Hickey