A man who gouged at the eyes of a police officer after they tried to arrest him for biting his brother’s ear during a fight has walked free from court.

Aidan McGarrigle tried to force his fingers into the officer’s eyes when he tried to restrain him in the street.

The 31-year-old had become embroiled in a family dispute before lashing out at his brother and biting his ear, Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court heard.

Liz McGowan, prosecuting, said the trouble flared outside a house on Arncliffe Place, Newton Aycliffe, on the evening of November 11 last year, when he bit his brother’s ear.

The court heard how the defendant said he sent an angry message to his father and had turned up at his home to apologise when the argument erupted.

She said: “When the police arrive, they see the defendant in the street and there seems to be a large scale disturbance.

“He shouted ‘I’m wanting to press charges’, he then pushed his brother to the floor and there is a number of punches thrown.

“When the police intervene and whilst he is on the floor, he is trying to gauge the eyes of the officer – he is trying to stick his fingers in the eyes of the officer.”

In a victim impact statement, the officer said he didn’t suffer any injuries but if he had, they could have been career-ending.

He added: “The fact he aimed for my eyes shows that intent that he had.”

McGarrigle, of Kirkham Close, Newton Aycliffe, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm after he bit his brother's ear and assault on an emergency worker.

Stephen Hamill, mitigating, said the vehicle valet business owner had a fractious relationship with his father and cannot understand why the violence started.

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“To say he is ashamed of his actions, that would be an understatement,” he said. “He is still confused about what happened that night.

“He does have a fractious relationship with his father.”

McGarrigle was left with a bill of £688 in fines, compensation, prosecution costs and victim surcharge fees, following his guilty pleas.

When asked how he wanted to settle the account, he said: “I will pay it all tomorrow. I just want to put this all behind me. This certainly won’t happen again.”