Rugby man bit off end of room-mate’s thumb ‘because TV was too loud’

Warwick Crown Court at the Justice Centre, Leamington
Warwick Crown Court at the Justice Centre, Leamington

A man who bit off the end of his room-mate’s thumb when an argument about the volume of the television became violent has been jailed for two years.

Olegs Nikitenko had clamped down with his teeth with such force that they went right through the nail as he bit off the top part of his victim’s thumb which he then spat out.

Nikitenko, 26, of Bond Street, Rugby, pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to causing grievous bodily harm to Germans Sinikajevs with intent to cause him serious injury.

The jury cleared him of that charge, but found him guilty of an alternative offence of inflicting grievous bodily harm, which he had also denied.

Prosecutor Matthew Barnes said: “This is about an episode of violence between two men who are from Latvia but living in this country in February last year.”

They had met while they were both working at the Tesco distribution centre in Daventry, and Nikitenko moved into the same accommodation with his colleague, sharing a room where he slept on a mattress on the floor.

The two men got on well, but in February they argued after Nikitenko, who wanted to watch something on his computer, complained about Germans having the television on too loud.

“They argued verbally, and then violence was instigated by this defendant.

“Mr Nikitenko initiated it by jumping up and putting his face close to Germans and threatening to smash his face. He grabbed a mug from Germans and punched him to the face.

“Germans pushed him away, and a struggle developed. During the course of their struggle a mirror smashed, and there was broken glass on the floor and both of them received cuts.

“It ended with the defendant inflicting a very serious and unpleasant wound to the thumb of the complainant.

“During the struggle Germans’ left thumb, accidentally according to him, went into the defendant’s mouth, whereupon the defendant bit off the end of his thumb and spat it out.

“If you can imagine the sort of force that would have required, because it went through the nail, you may conclude that showed a determined intention,” said Mr Barnes.

That brought the violence to an end, and Mr Sinikajevs sought help from a housemate before walking into the centre of Rugby, bleeding and in pain, and asking a taxi driver to call the police and an ambulance.

He was taken to hospital where he was kept in for a day as surgeons treated his damaged thumb, which is now shorter than the right one.

The jury was handed photographs of the injury, and Mr Barnes said: “They are a little bit gruesome.”

Nikitenko claimed it was his room-mate who had started the violence, during which he felt Mr Sinikajevs’ ‘finger’ in his mouth.

He said Mr Sinikajevs then pulled his finger out very quickly, loosening one of his teeth in doing so, and he denied intentionally biting it.

But it took the jury just over an hour to reject his version of the incident and find him guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Jailing Nikitenko without adjourning for a pre-sentence report, Recorder Martin Jackson said there was no alternative to immediate imprisonment.