Man bit victim’s nose in ‘red mist’ attack at casino

Heber Crawford
Heber Crawford
Andrew Gallie outside Westminster Magistrates' Court Picture: Henry Vaughan/PA Wire

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A DAD-of-three ‘saw red mist’ and bit a man on the nose outside a casino, leaving him needing 20 stitches.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard Heber Crawford launched himself at Ben Smith outside the Grosvenor Casino after Mr Smith made a comment about Crawford’s grandfather.

The 36-year-old, who was out celebrating his grandfather’s diamond wedding anniversary, has been jailed for 16 months by a judge after admitting maliciously wounding his victim in December.

Martyn Booth, prosecuting, said Crawford and his family were leaving when Mr Smith went outside for a cigarette.

He said: ‘A comment appears to have been made about this defendant’s grandfather. It seems to relate to him managing to get out the door. It seems to be the point of friction between this defendant and Mr Smith.’

‘Mr Smith was then attacked by this defendant, grabbing Mr Smith’s ears, or side of his head, putting his mouth towards his face and clamping on to his nose.

‘It’s plain he had been bitten his nose. The doorman at the casino saw what was going on. They were described as being on the floor at this stage.

‘He said the defendant also had hands on Mr Smith’s face at the same time as though he was gouging out his eyes.’

Mr Booth added: ‘There was a nasty wound completely circling the end of his nose.’

Crawford was pulled off his victim and an ambulance was called.

Mr Smith was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham after the incident on December 13 last year.

He did not suffer any injuries to his eyes and Crawford’s defence counsel Robert Forrest said he was not gouging. In a police interview Crawford said Mr Smith had thrown a punch and he was acting in self-defence, Mr Booth added. ‘That of course is not accepted by the crown,’ he said.

CCTV showed Crawford, of Kestrel Road, Hilsea, had punched his victim several times and he did not use the self-defence argument in court. The victim lost £600 in earnings from time off work to recover and a victim impact statement in court said he was annoyed and felt the bite was cowardly.

Crawford, who runs a damp-proofing firm, has appeared in court on 11 previous occasions for 40 offences, five for crimes against a person.

In mitigation Mr Forrest, defending, said Crawford pleaded guilty, has genuine remorse and has not committed a crime for 15 years.

He said: ‘He describes his actions to effectively a red mist descending on him. It’s more of an explanation, it’s certainly not an excuse.’

Addressing Crawford, Judge Peter Dixon Crabtree said: ‘You have caused him injury that’s serious and caused by using your teeth.

‘That’s the equivalent of using a weapon. It would seem your attack continued – you had to be pulled off.’