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14 January 2015, 15:26
A Middlesbrough thug who bit a chunk out of a man's face during an argument in a nightclub and then boasted about it in a text message using the term 'lol' has been jailed for six years.
John Stephenson, described as "animalistic" by his own lawyer, removed his bloodstained shirt and carried on with his night out after sinking his teeth into his victim.
Stephenson boasted about the horrific attack in text messages afterwards, repeatedly using the term lol, meaning laugh out loud, when bragging about the assault at Club Bongo International in Middlesbrough.
The 42-year-old who has 107 offences on his record going back to the age of 12, told a friend: "It was like a slaughterhouse lol."
In his texts, Stephenson said:
"I OK but he will never be coz I took a big piece off his face lol. He had to go to hospital lol. It was like a slaughterhouse ... all good fun tho. He is in a bad way like, he had 70 stitches."
Following the brutal attack in the early hours of October 27, 2013, he told his victim's friends:
"It's not finished yet. There'll be more blood spilt and it won't be mine."
The injured man and his group had been staging a fundraising evening for his disabled brother before going to the nightclub.
Stephenson had downed up to 20 bottles of lager after a family wedding that day, Teesside Crown Court heard during a trial.
He was convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, but was cleared of also slashing the man's face with a knife.
Stephenson, of Crowland Avenue, Middlesbrough, claimed he acted in self-defence after being hit with a bottle from behind.
He told the jury he was "frightened for my life" and "fighting for my life"after being knocked out and waking up on the floor.
The judge, Recorder Mark Gargan, said Stephenson had merely been pushed over after he had been verbally abusive in the smoking "cage".
He told the lout:
"You were not under attack or under threat. Your response was to inflict this harm deliberately."
Stephenson was jailed for six years in 2000 for slashing a man around the eye and body after a row at the same nightclub.
His lawyer, Robert Mochrie, told the court that the argument was a misunderstanding and Stephenson acted in a "split second".
Mr Mochrie said:
"He does accept that he must be punished for actions."
"Actions he tells me he deeply regrets."
"Had he been completely sober at the time, it would have been a completely different story."