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, Mr McGilvray denies wounding with intent in the incident that took place in a hotel in Newcastle last year.

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Mr Mantle, 56, had been working locally and was staying in the Quayside Travelodge.

Mr 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 Mr French's room, Mr 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.

"He was attacking me, he was on top of me.

"I was scared, angry. All I had done was speak to some girls and then I had a big monster on me."

He told the court that he thought he had no alternative than to bite the ear of Mr Mantle to stop the attack.

Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, accused Mr 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.

Mr French also denied Mr Mantle's version of events and said he tried to stop the actor attacking Mr 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.

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.