Man who bit top of friend’s ears off is jailed for four years

Anthony Dempsey claimed John Kelly had performed sex act near his sleeping sister

A man who bit the top of his friend's ears off in Co Donegal has been jailed for four years.

Anthony Dempsey attacked John Kelly on November 5th last year in Letterkenny after suspecting him of performing a sexual act near his sleeping sister.

Mr Kelly required extensive plastic surgery following the incident.

Dempsey, (24) appeared at Letterkenny District Court where he pleaded guilty to assault .


Gardaí were first alerted to the attack when a woman noticed a man on the upstairs window ledge of a house at St Eunan’s Terrace in Letterkenny. He had a bloodied face and was in a distressed state as another man tried to pull him back into the house.

The man managed to run away and was taken into another house by two women, the court heard.

The women contacted gardaí and they found John Kelly. He was rocking back and forth and was bleeding heavily, was in a lot of pain and the tops of his two ears were missing.

Gardaí called to the house where Mr Kelly has first been seen and Dempsey answered the door.

Garda Gerry Fee said it was obvious that Dempsey had washed his face. He said there had been blood splattered on the walls but they had been wiped in an attempt to hide it.

He said everyone in the house was under the influence of an intoxicant and that Dempsey had become agitated and had punched the wall and the worktop.

He was arrested but was initially unfit to be interviewed.

He later admitted punching Kelly in the face and in the body but denied biting off his ears. He said the reason for the attack was because he caught Kelly masturbating over his sister when she was asleep in a room.

Garda Fee said he did not believe Dempsey’s sister was in the room or that Kelly had masturbated over her.

Dempsey and Kelly had first met a year earlier when both were undergoing a drug rehabilitation programme in Tullamore.

A medical report showed Kelly suffered numerous injuries including swelling, a laceration to his nasal bridge, swelling to his upper lip and extensive tissue loss to both ears.

Judge John Aylmer was told Dempsey had 46 previous convictions for a range of offences including dangerous driving, not having insurance, criminal damage, public order, misuse of drugs, possession of a knife and possession of an explosive substance.

Judge Aylmer described the attack as “a very serious assault.”

He said the incident merited a six-year jail sentence but there were mitigating circumstances including an early guilty plea, the fact that he had a very difficult upbringing and that he had offered Mr Kelly an apology.

Judge Aylmer said that because of Dempsey’s early guilty plea he was reducing the six-year sentence to four years and backdated that sentence to when he entered custody on April 5th, 2017.