A man who bit the ear off his sister's former boyfriend, following an ongoing feud, has been jailed for four years.

Dylan Hunter, 21, launched the gruesome attack during a chance meeting with his victim in Marlborough town centre in the early hours of the morning.

After exchanging words with Joseph Donnelly, whose right arm was in a sling, Hunter head butted him, then sunk his teeth into his ear.

The court heard it wasn't the first time he had bitten his victim to the face over the acrimonious split.

And after the attack he taunted Mr Donnelly's taxi driver mum by simulating a biting with his mouth in front of her cab and making a rude gesture.

Hannah Squire, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court today there had been bad blood between the men for many years.

Mr Donnelly had been living with Hunter's older sister Rhona, and when they split up there were arguments over money and a feeling he had benefitted.

Miss Squire said on Friday, July 19, the victim suffered a bad cut to his hand while working as a chef and required hospital treatment.

His right arm was strapped to his chest and he was due to undergo a small operation the following day, but still went to the pub with friends that night.

As they were walking home on a path behind the church between High Street and Herd Street he said he heard Hunter shouting his name from behind.

He immediately started going on about him 'ripping off' his sister and talking about a sofa he had kept.

Miss Squire said the victim had not wanted to fight with him but Hunter first head butted him to the face, then, as Mr Donnelly tried to push him away, bit him.

"Dylan Hunter lunged towards him, got hold of Joseph Donnelly's ear between his teeth and he bit hard," she said.

"Joseph Donnelly screamed loudly, it was clear the pain was excruciating. He could hear a crunching noise.

"Dylan Hunter continued to bite down on his ear and he could feel part of his ear detach and come loose. He continued to scream because of the intensity of the pain."

Friends he was with managed to pull Hunter off him and he spat out the chunk of flesh saying 'Look, I got a piece of his ear,' before running off.

The victim's uncle, Angelo Nash, picked it up and rushed his nephew to hospital in the hope it could be reattached, but doctors were only able stitch up the wound.

After the attack Hunter told friends, 'You know how much I hate him, he got what was finally coming to him,' and 'If it was your sister you would do the same, next time I'll make sure I do a better job'.

As a result of the attack Mr Donnelly has lost a quarter of the outer part of the ear and may have to undergo two long operations to have it repaired.

The court was told the during a previous incident, which was never reported to the police, the defendant had bitten his cheek during a scuffle.

Hunter, of Kennet Rise, Marlborough, pleaded guilty on a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Kevin Farquarson, defending, said his client was sorry for what he had done in the drunken attack after a chance meeting.

"It is a grotesque injury that has left a young man with a disfigurement that he will be left with for the rest of his life," he said.

Jailing him, Judge Tim Mousley QC said: "This was a savage and vicious attack by you. It resulted in extreme pain for Mr Donnelly. It caused a serious injury.

"This was not the first time that you had assaulted him by biting him to his face."