By Paul Thornton
A VICIOUS thug bit off his friend’s ear and spat it out on the floor in a misguided attempt at relationship counselling.
Benjamin Hammond, 19, started punching Brian McLintock after getting involved in an argument between him and his girlfriend.
And as the terrified 17-year-old tried to defend himself, Hammond sank his teeth into his ear and ripped off a chunk.
Quick-thinking friends of the pair put the piece of flesh into a plastic bag before rushing Brian to hospital.
But the father-of-one, who was covered in blood, lost half his ear in the attack and now needs cosmetic surgery to repair it.
Yesterday at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Hammond admitted mutilating his friend for life.
But despite the nasty attack, reminiscent of Mike Tyson’s infamous lunge at Evander Holyfield, Brian claims he is prepared to put the incident behind him and patch up his friendship with Hammond.
Speaking from his home in Lochend, Edinburgh he said: “It was just a stupid argument and I don’t bear any grudges at all.
“I hope he gets free from prison and I will have no problems with him at all.
“I’ve not had my ear fixed – I have a young child and I don’t have time to spend weeks in hospital.”
The court heard how angry Hammond had gone after hearing about a heated argument between his friend and his girlfriend.
By the time he reached the couple’s flat, they had sorted things out but Hammond was intent on causing problems.
Fiscal depute John Cook told the court Hammond burst into the father-of-one’s flat in Edinburgh before hurling abuse at him.
Hammond pounced as Brian sat in a chair and the two exchanged blows as his victim fought to defend himself.
But the vicious teenager lunged at his friend’s ear and bit of a chunk before spitting it out on the floor.
When cops arrived on the scene, they found pools of blood and the missing piece of flesh, which quick-witted mates had bagged for safe keeping before calling an ambulance.
Police arrested Hammond and he has been locked up since the February attack.
Mikey Annis, 16, is friends with both Brian and Hammond and witnessed the brutal attack.
He said: “There was blood everywhere and Brian’s face was covered in blood.
“I just saw the ear on the floor and couldn’t believe it.
“They haven’t spoken since but I’m sure they will be alright, we are all good friends.”
Sheriff Kenneth Maciver called for reports and Hammond, who was held on remand, will be sentenced next month.