FORMER Casualty actor Clive Mantle was “utterly shell shocked” after two men were cleared of an attack on him in which part of his ear was bitten off.
Philip McGilvray, 33, admitted biting the 6ft 5in actor’s ear after they clashed in a Newcastle hotel corridor in a late-night row over noise last March, but claimed self-defence.
He and his friend Alan French, 32, also from Hamilton, Scotland, were yesterday cleared of GBH with intent and the lesser charge of GBH after a jury at Newcastle Crown Court deliberated for almost five hours.
Neither of the acquitted men wanted to comment as they walked out of court with family members.
Away from the courtroom, Mr Mantle, who also appeared in the hit US show Game of Thrones, issued a statement.
It said: “I am utterly shell shocked by the verdict of the court, and have lost a great deal of faith in a process which can deliver such an injustice.
“As much as I am hurt and baffled by the decision, I am more worried at the message it gives out to law-abiding people who dare to point out the terrible behaviour of others.
“Are we all just meant to sit back and not say anything ?
“The fact that violent acts go unpunished is equally worrying.
“I would like to thank my friends, family and hundreds of well-wishers for their support, and I look forward to getting back to work.”
Mr Mantle was appearing in a touring production of The Ladykillers and was woken in his Travelodge room by repeated incidents of shouting in the corridor outside.
The actor went to summon security when there was a clash in which the three men ended on the floor, and Mr Mantle’s ear was severed.
Mr McGilvray, who had been out drinking with friends since the afternoon, claimed he was acting in self-defence after the actor charged at him and knocked him to the floor.
He told the jury: “I turned around and the next thing I was taken out by this big guy. I’m not sure if he punched me or clothes-lined me.
“It was like being hit by a car. I was on my back and Mr Mantle was straight on top of me.”
He could not move because “I had a big monster on me” who he thought was trying to kill him, the court heard.
He believed he had no alternative than to bite the ear of Mr Mantle to stop the attack.
Mr McGilvray had suffered a similar injury when he was younger, when a bouncer bit off his ear and swallowed it, and this caused him to feel ashamed for what he had done.
“I know every feeling and emotion that Mr Mantle has been through. I’m disgusted with myself and ashamed with myself,” he said.
Mr McGilvray told the court he had previously been in trouble for fighting and had been convicted of assault. He also said his brother had been stabbed to death in the street.
Mr French said he saw the two wrestling on the floor and tried to intervene.
He told the court: “I started shouting, telling him to walk away, please walk away, you don’t need to do this.”
There was sobbing from the two defendants’ families in the public gallery when the foreman announced the ‘not guilty’ verdicts.
Recorder Michael Slater thanked the jury for their care and deliberation.
Mr Mantle gave evidence in the trial and showed the jury the extent of his injuries.
At the request of the prosecution, he lifted the hair he has grown long over his ears to show the chunk that is missing after Mr McGilvray’s bite.