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Thug faces jail for lip-bite horror attack

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A MAN has been found guilty of biting his girlfriend’s lip in a bid to disfigure her.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Rhys Culley, of Elizabeth Diamond Gardens, South Shields, had asked Chanttelle Ward if he loved her, before he sank his teeth into her flesh during the horrific attack.

Prosecutors said the 23-year-old had been jealous and insecure about the 18-year-old while he was working away, and he decided to disfigure her.

Jurors at Newcastle Crown Court saw pictures of teeth marks left in Miss Ward’s upper lip after the attack, during which he smeared her own blood around her face.

Culley, who had been in a relationship with Miss Ward for over two years, denied wounding with intent but was yesterday found guilty after a trial.

He will be sentenced next month and has now been remanded in custody. Graeme Cook, defending, applied for the shopfitter’s bail to be allowed to continue while he awaits sentence, but Miss Recorder Wigin refused.

The judge said: “The sentence will inevitably be custody.”

Jurors heard Culley bit down on his victim’s lip with the same force that would be needed to bite through a one-centimetre thick piece of rubber.

As well as the gruesome injury to her mouth, Miss Ward suffered bruising and scratches to her head and body during the attack, which started after a row about Facebook.

During the trial, Miss Ward told jurors Culley had tried to kiss her and asked her if she still loved him before the bite.

She said: “He put his whole mouth around my lips and pulled, I thought that my whole lip had come off. There was blood everywhere.”

The court heard trouble had flared at Miss Ward’s home after a night out, when he chased her from room to room and attacked her.

Emma Dowling, prosecuting, said Culley kicked and punched Miss Ward, pulled her hair, had thrown her into furniture and hurled things at her before finally launching the frenzied facial attack.

The attack happened on February 22 after the couple had been at The County pub, in South Shields.

They had been celebrating Miss Ward’s mother’s birthday and, at about 10.30pm, Miss Ward, the defendant and her aunt shared a taxi home, dropping her aunt off first.

When the defendant and his girlfriend got back to her house, the mood of the night changed.

Culley brought up a conversation that his girlfriend had had with another man on Facebook earlier.

He then took Miss Ward’s phone off her in a bid to look through her Facebook messages.

The court was told that, when Culley found that the messages were no longer there, he became angry and started to shout at Miss Ward accusing her of having something to hide.

At this point, Miss Ward told the court, she realised that something was wrong and that this wasn’t a “normal” argument for the pair, who had been together for almost two and a half years.

She became scared and grabbed her phone to call for help but Culley took it from her and also locked the doors so that she couldn’t escape.

Later, when her phone was left unattended, she began to make an emergency call but Culley again took it from her.

Miss Dowling said that after Culley had bitten his victim, he rubbed his face in hers, smearing the blood across her face.

She said: “When the police arrived, they saw that they both had blood on them.”

Culley was arrested, and Miss Ward was taken to hospital to have her injuries examined.

She suffered not only the injuries to her mouth, but bruising to her arms and body, a scratch to her left breast, bruising of the face and ear, the court was told.

During his evidence, Culley said he had not meant to harm his “beautiful” girlfriend, who he knew he was lucky to have.

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