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'Big monster' Mantle 'attacked man'
A man accused of attacking former Casualty actor Clive Mantle and severely disfiguring his ear has told a court he was defending himself from the "big monster" that he thought was going to kill him.
Philip McGilvray, 33, admits biting the ear of Mr Mantle but says he was acting in self-defence after the actor had pinned him to the floor.
Along with Alan French, 32, McGilvray denies wounding with intent in the incident that took place in a hotel in Newcastle last year.
Mr Mantle, 56, had been working locally and was staying in the Quayside Travelodge.
McGilvray told the jury at Newcastle Crown Court that he had been drinking with his friends since the afternoon and had returned to the hotel in the early hours.
The pair then began walking along the hotel corridors looking for French's room, McGilvray said, and that is when he became aware of the actor coming out of his room to tell them to be quiet.
"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," he said.
"It was like being hit by a car. I was on my back and Mr Mantle was straight on top of me.
"I had one arm in front of me and the other under my back and I could not move.
"He was attacking me, he was on top of me, his face right in front of me. He was pulling at me and grabbing me.
"I was surprised and shocked, I was scared, angry and I did not know what I had done.
"All I had done was speak to some girls and then I had a big monster on me.
"I don't know why I did it, I could not get away, I did not know what he had in his hands, I thought he was trying to kill me."
He told the court that he thought he had no alternative than to bite the ear of Mr Mantle to stop the attack.
He said that he too 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.
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.
Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, accused McGilvray of talking "absolute rubbish" and said he lied to the police when he was first interviewed.
Mr Perks said after the altercation the pair had left the scene for three hours and eventually returned later after trying to check into a different hotel.
But when the police initially interviewed him under caution, he said he could not remember what had happened and the last thing he recalled was being in a club.
"You lost your temper when you were drunk and went over the top, way over the top," Mr Perks said.
"You were unable to explain to the police in your interview what Clive Mantle could possibly have done to justify your reaction.
"You did it because when you are drunk your character changes and you decided that you were going to disfigure him."
French said he was invited on the trip by McGilvray after he had split up from his partner.
Giving evidence, he too denied Mr Mantle's version of events and said he tried to stop the actor attacking McGilvray.
"I saw him lunging straight for Phil and they were straight on the floor. I turned round and saw they were wrestling on the ground," he said.
"I started shouting, telling him to walk away, please walk away, you don't need to do this."
He told the court he was not aware at the time that McGilvray had bitten the actor's ear, an act he described as "not human".
He said: "For Mr Mantle to suggest that someone would lie down next to him and bite his ear is absurd."
He also denied punching the actor in the head.
But Mr Perks said he had failed to explain to the court what it was that had caused Mr Mantle to react in the way he did.
The case continues.