A young man who has been drinking spirits since he was just 13 years old has walked free from court after pleading guilty to biting part of a man's ear off.
Dylan Loughlin (26) appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court in Co Donegal, charged with attacking Patrick Sweeney at College Row, Letterkenny, on January 24, 2019.
The court heard Loughlin was dating Mr Sweeney's niece and was at Mr Sweeney's home.
Garda Ronan Morris said when he arrived at the house he found Mr Sweeney holding his left ear, a piece of which was hanging down.
He was rushed to Letterkenny University Hospital where he received 13 stitches to save the ear and later had to have plastic surgery.
Gardaí found Loughlin upstairs with a number of other people in a bedroom of the house.
He had blood on his throat and face and was in a distressed state and was screaming and apologising.
When interviewed, he initially said it was Mr Sweeney who jumped on him and he denied biting the victim's ear.
He claimed those in the house were telling lies about him and he had just wanted to get a taxi and leave the house.
Prosecution barrister Patricia McLaughlin said Mr Sweeney had declined to make a victim impact statement.
The court heard that Loughlin, of Windmill View, Glencar, Letterkenny, has 11 previous convictions for various offences including road traffic, robbery and theft.
Peter Nolan, barrister for Loughlin, said his client had a history of psychiatric issues and on the night had consumed a cocktail of drink and drugs. He has been in custody facing the charges since December last year.
He was now 26 but had been drinking two-litres of spirits since he was 13, taking cocaine since he was 18 and then hash.
Mr Nolan said his client was deeply sorry for his actions and that he was "not himself" on the night of the attack.
He added that his client's grandfather, who was a father figure to him growing up, had died a short time earlier and his girlfriend had suffered a miscarriage.
Judge John Aylmer said it was a serious offence and merited a jail sentence of two-and- a-half years.
However, he said that due to an early plea, Loughlin's clear remorse, and the fact that he was under the influence of drink and drugs, he would reduce that sentence to 22 months with seven months of the sentence served.
He said he was prepared to suspend the balance of Loughlin's sentence on a number of conditions, including that he abstain from alcohol and non-prescription drugs.