Bite man avoids jail in Andy Mur­ray row

Step­fa­ther was at­tacked over ten­nis star

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - FRONT PAGE -

A MAN who bit a chunk out of his step­fa­ther’s ear af­ter a row over Andy Mur­ray’s na­tion­al­ity has avoided a jail sen­tence.

Lee Clark as­saulted Alis­tair Wil­son to his se­vere in­jury and per­ma­nent dis­fig­ure­ment in the ar­gu­ment about Bri­tish­ness and Scot­tish­ness.

Yes­ter­day, the 34-year-old first of­fender was in­structed to pay his vic­tim £1,200 in com­pen­sa­tion, carry out 300 hours of un­paid work as an al­ter­na­tive to cus­tody and or­dered to re­main in his house be­tween 8pm and 6am for the next 90 days.

Sen­tenc­ing Clarke at In­ver­ness Sher­iff Court yes­ter­day, Sher­iff Chris Dick­son told him: “This was an ex­tremely se­ri­ous of­fence where you have caused per­ma­nent dis­fig­ure­ment.”

Clarke had told po­lice that he acted in self de­fence. De­fence so­lic­i­tor Clare Rus­sell said al­co­hol and anger were fac­tors.

A man who al­most bit off his step­fa­ther’s ear in a row over Andy Mur­ray’s na­tion­al­ity yes­ter­day nar­rowly avoided jail but was placed on a cur­few and or­dered to pay his vic­tim £1,200 in com­pen­sa­tion.

Lee Clarke was in­structed to carry out 300 hours of un­paid work as an al­ter­na­tive to cus­tody and or­dered to re­main in his house be­tween 8pm and 6am for the next 90 days.

Sen­tenc­ing Clarke at In­ver­ness Sher­iff Court, Sher­iff Chris Dick­son told him: “This was an ex­tremely se­ri­ous of­fence where you have caused per­ma­nent dis­fig­ure­ment.

“It is ac­cepted that you were act­ing un­der provo­ca­tion in that you were in a head­lock at the time, hav­ing dif­fi­culty breath­ing and you acted in hot blood.

“Since you are at low risk of re­of­fend­ing, reached the age of 34 with­out con­vic­tion, I can deal with this other than send­ing you to prison.”

At an ear­lier hear­ing, the court heard that a de­bate over a sport­ing star’s na­tion­al­ity had started the ar­gu­ment.

Af­ter court, Clarke con­firmed that it was world num­ber-one ten­nis star Andy Mur­ray who was at the cen­tre of the fam­ily row.

Staunch union­ist Clarke, now aged 35, ad­mit­ted as­sault­ing Alis­tair Wil­son to his se­vere in­jury and per­ma­nent dis­fig­ure­ment.

Mr Wil­son was hos­pi­talised to have a chunk of his right ear be­ing sewn back on by sur­geons.

Clarke didn’t com­ment af­ter sen­tenc­ing but last month he said: “It was a silly ar­gu­ment over whether Andy Mur­ray was Bri­tish or Scot­tish. I have noth­ing against the Scots, most of my fam­ily are Scot­tish. But I re­gard my­self as Bri­tish. Andy is Bri­tish, but he is also Scot­tish.”

The court was told that Clarke, of Evan Bar­ron Road, was so­cial­is­ing with his mum Mandy Wil­son at her home in the city’s Esk Road on Au­gust 14, along with Mr Wil­son.

But when the con­ver­sa­tion turned to­wards Mur­ray’s na­tional iden­tity, the ar­gu­ment erupted.

De­fence so­lic­i­tor Clare Rus­sell said al­co­hol and anger were fac­tors, and her client suf­fers from epilepsy.

She added: “His guilty plea was ten­dered on the ba­sis that there was provo­ca­tion af­ter an ar­gu­ment over the na­tion­al­ity of a sports­man.

“It is a mat­ter of deep re­gret that it in­volved a fam­ily mem­ber and he hopes to rekin­dle some kind of re­la­tion­ship with his step­fa­ther if not only for his mother’s sake.”

It was a first con­vic­tion for Clarke and fis­cal de­pute Michelle Mol­ley told the court that it was not clear who had started the fight.

Af­ter be­ing ar­rested by po­lice, Clarke said: “It was self-de­fence, but I re­gret what I did.”

GUILTY: Lee Clarke ad­mit­ted as­sault­ing Alis­tair Wil­son to his se­vere in­jury

Alis­tair Wil­son had chunk of his right ear sewn back on

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