Bite man avoids jail in Andy Murray row
Stepfather was attacked over tennis star
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