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Man convicted of biting ‘sizable chunk of flesh’ from officer’s arm to appeal prison sentence

After hearing a contest the deputy district judge refused to accept the accused acted as 'he feared for his life' before sentencing him to 10 months in jail

Craigavon Court

A man who was convicted of biting a “sizable chunk of flesh” off a police officer’s arm is to appeal against a 10 month prison sentence imposed.

In sentencing the 31-year-old, the deputy district judge said: “This was a vicious and extreme attack on a gentleman doing his job… this was a sizable chunk of flesh removed from the arm of the sergeant.”

Fabio Noe Monteiro, of Market Lane in Portadown, appeared contesting charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, assault on police and three counts of criminal damage at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

However, prior to the contest being heard it was established that two of the criminal damage charges were to be withdrawn and that the assault charges were alternatives of the same offence.

The two aforementioned criminal damages both related to toilet facilities at the People’s Park in Portadown.

Prosecution stated that CCTV showed a male, believed to be this defendant, entering and leaving the premises but it was accepted it could not be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt” that he had been the culprit.

Addressing the other charges, the first witness called to give evidence was a sergeant, who was the alleged injured party with relation to the assaults.

As he was guided by the prosecution, court heard that on October 11, of 2019, the sergeant had been on duty dressed in civilian clothes.

He received a message with a description, in relation to criminal damage of toilet facilities at the People’s Park in Portadown.

At 6.30pm, whilst on Obins Street, he observed a male, later identified as the defendant, who matched the desription he had recieved.

The sergeant told court that he had spoken to Monteiro, explaining who he was, showing him a warrant and his identification.

He claimed that the defendant had tried to walk away and had pulled his hands away as he attempted to handcuff him.

The sergeant stated that Monteiro had resisted arrest. He described how the defendant had lowered his head before biting him, through his jacket, on the left arm.

Monteiro was then brought to the ground but continued to struggle. The officer claimed at one point the defendant rose above him and grabbed the handcuffs, throwing them away.

Monteiro was later brought to the ground as a colleague came to his aid.

The sergeant indicated that it was later discovered that the handcuffs had been damaged and were left useless.

Along with the injury to his arm, he also received an abrasion to the knee along with damage to his jacket and jeans.

Whilst at Lurgan Police Station, the sergeant stated when he cautioned Montiero for the offences he replied: “F*** you”.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson asked the sergeant if the defendant had displayed any difficulty in understanding English.

Witness maintained that Montiero had perfectly understood the situation and reason why he had been stopped.

Mr Thompson put it to him that his client had acted in self-defence and indeed had commented during interview that he thought the sergeant was going to “kill” him.

However, Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes commented that, upon looking at images before the court; “this was not the average bite, a lump has been removed from his arm”.

Next to the stand was the sergeant’s colleague, who had been at the scene accompanying him.

She recalled how a struggle had ensued and whilst on her way to the police vehicle in order to radio for assistance, she had heard the sergeant call out that he had been bitten.

The officer stated she had observed Monteiro throwing the handcuffs onto the road, before helping in restraining him. Within one minute assistance had arrived.

The defendant then gave evidence claiming that he had felt that the police were “aggressive” and he had not “understood” what had been going on, which led him to become angry.

Deputy District Judge Holmes stated: “The accused made the case during interview it was one of self defence, that he feared for his life, but that is not in the case which he made in the witness box, when he described feeling angered.

“This was a viscous and extreme attack on a gentleman doing his job… this was a sizable chunk of flesh removed from the arm of the sergeant.”

Monteiro was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage in relation to the handcuffs.

Commenting that the “custody threshold” had been crossed and there was “little point” in a presentence report, Deputy District Judge Holmes sentenced the defendant to a 10 month prison sentence.

Following Mr Thompson indicated such an eventuality had been discussed, Monteiro was released on his own bail of £500 pending appeal.

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