Violent addict who bit man's ear off in robbery spree gets 10 years
A 21-year-old man has been handed a 10-year sentence for a spate of robberies and an attempted robbery in Belfast.
During one of the raids Jonathon Carville put a female employee in a headlock, and when a male came to her assistance Carville bit part of his ear off.
Judge Neil Rafferty QC handed Carville, from Felden Place in Newtownabbey, a 10-year sentence and told him he would be eligible for release after serving half the term.
The judge also imposed an extended custodial sentence of three years on licence.
Belfast Crown Court heard that Carville was arrested on December 3 last year shortly after robbing a north Belfast pharmacy at knifepoint of 170 diazepam and 80 pregabalin tablets.
At the time Carville was wearing a distinctive red puffa jacket, enabling police to link him to the armed robbery of a Mace store in west Belfast the previous day.
On this occasion he robbed the store of cigarettes and money while brandishing a knife while wearing the same red coat.
Carville was arrested and bailed, and three months later - on March 30 this year - he attempted to rob an off-licence in north Belfast.
He entered the premises around 7.40pm and proceeded to put a female member of staff in a headlock, choking her. He then bit off part of the ear of a man who tried to intervene and was arrested after being restrained at the scene.
Judge Rafferty said the incident would have been "frightening and terrifying" for the female worker, and also praised the "robust intervention" by the public.
A prosecution barrister said while Carville's offending was unsophisticated, it showed planning and premeditation.
Defence counsel Stephen Toal revealed his client was involved in a serious car accident in which his young cousin was killed and the driver left brain-damaged.
Mr Toal said since then Carville's "thought processes are corrupted" from which a "thirst for drugs erupted" and that it was in a "desperate attempt to feed his addiction" that he offends.
Handing Carville a 10-year sentence, with an extended three years on licence, Judge Rafferty said the ear-biting, where "significant violence" was used, was an aggravating factor.