Maritzburg: Man rips off rival’s ear with his teeth

2009-04-20 00:00

A 26-year-old man is battling to come to terms with the distressing injury he was left with after he was attacked in a popular pub in the city, and had a large part of his ear bitten off by a man alleged to be a prominent businessman.

Jovan Nel (26) had most of his right ear bitten off by a man who attacked him on April 8. He also suffered numerous other bites to his arm and body.

Nel, an aspiring cricket player who is currently unemployed, told The Witness that his attacker is a well-known insurance broker, who despite being successful and married with children, allegedly has a history of vicious bar-room brawls.

Nel said he joined a friend for a drink at the pub that afternoon. Just after midnight, he went to the toilets where the man confronted him, and began arguing with Nel about a woman Nel dated two years ago, who works at the pub. “He had liked her at the time and was bitter that I had dated her.”

Nel said that when the man began hurling abuse and obscenities at him, he left the bathroom and walked outside.

The man followed him outside and the brawl began.

“He tried to hit me, but he missed and then tackled me into the garden bed and started mauling me. He bit me on my side and I grabbed his head, to try and stop him, but he bit my arm and then my ear.”

Nel said the man grabbed his ear with his teeth and ripped, pulling off half the ear.

The man then got up and left, and as he drove off in his luxury car, he shouted at Nel: “Go to who you want to. I’ve got money.”

A traumatised Nel sought help for his bite wounds, some of which have left small craters in his flesh.

“We found the ear and put it in a glass of ice and took it to Grey’s. The doctor there asked me how this happened. He couldn’t believe another human being did this to me.” The remainder of Nel’s ear was stitched and he was treated with antibiotics and a tetanus injection.

Photos of the injuries taken just after the attack were too gruesome to publish.

Nel’s doctors have advised him that he can have recontructive surgery to his ear in months to come, but this will cost him in the region of R100 000.

Nel said he is emotionally affected by the injuries. “My four-year-old son would not even greet me, because he was so upset by how my ear looks. I am trying to get a job. How can I go for job interviews looking like this?” Nel is trying to find a job in the sales and marketing sector.

He was shocked on seeing The Witness photographs of his ear. “I didn’t realise it looked that bad from the side,” he said soberly.

Police confirmed that Nel has opened a case of assault with intention to do grievous bodily harm, but added that the other man has opened a counter case against Nel. Nel told The Witness that he did not fight back.

Nel is now pursuing a civil claim against the man too.

He said the man who attacked him has a history of such behaviour, but that he has settled previous out of court. “I will not settle this out of court,” said a determined Nel.

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