Judo star ‘bit off man’s ear in self-defence’

The trams in Edinburgh. Picture: Julie Bull

The trams in Edinburgh. Picture: Julie Bull

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A JUDO star has told a court he was responsible for biting a man’s ear off in a street fight.

But Craig Stewart, 23, claimed he was acting in self-defence during an incident which left 22-year-old Kieran Clare needing surgery.

Stewart, who hopes to compete for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games, said the fight started after Mr Clare made a derogatory comment about his ‘cauliflower ears’.

But he admitted to a jury at Livingston Sheriff Court today that he later lied to police about his involvement and had ?exaggerated? how drunk he was at the time.

Stewart told the court that Mr Clare punched him while his friends ? dressed in white ?Jesus? robes, sandals and wigs ? repeatedly kicked and punched him outside Twig in Bathgate in October 2012.

He said: ?I was surrounded by Jesuses. I was doing everything to get away. I was panicking. I was scared to death. I thought I bit his hand. I don?t recall biting his ear, but the fight split up after I bit him.?

Stewart, from Harthill, denies repeatedly biting Mr Clare on the body to his injury, while 21-year-old Ben Dahle, of Blackridge, also denied serious assault, but changed his plea to guilty to a reduced charge of breach of the peace after Stewart gave evidence.

The trial continues.