A retired priest allegedly had his ear bitten off in an unholy punch-up with another retired clergyman.
Father Thomas Byrne, 80, told Father Thomas Smith, 81, to pick the flesh up off the ground and put it in his pocket after the brawl on Friday in Perth, Australia, according to police.
But it was only when Father Smith returned to his retirement flat and pulled it out of his pocket that he realised it was his right ear, East Perth Magistrates Court heard.
Father Byrne appeared in court charged with grievous bodily harm over the incident involving Father Smith, both of whom share the retirement home with a third retired Catholic priest.
The court was told that a violent brawl broke out at the retirement home complex in the Perth suburb of Dianella over a parking spot.
Police told the hearing that it took some time for Father Smith to realise his ear had been bitten off.
Once he realised that the flesh was his ear, Father Smith is said to have wrapped it in a tea towel and driven to a local medical centre, where staff phoned for an ambulance and police.
He was kept in Perth’s Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital after surgery to try to save the severed ear.
It appeared that Father Byrne had also suffered a bruising in the alleged fight. When he appeared in East Perth’s Magistrates Court he sported a black eye.
Police prosecutor Chris Lawler said Father Byrne did not have a police record but he had concerns for the safety of the victim if bail was approved.
‘They live in the same complex but they are both funded by the Catholic Church,’ Mr Lawler told the court.
Magistrate Greg Benn imposed strict bail conditions on Father Byrne, including an order not to go within 10 yards of Father Smith, nor act in a violent or threatening manner towards him.
A neighbour living in the retirement home told PerthNow he was shocked to hear about the alleged fight ‘because we’re all in our 80s and retired priests.’
Father Byrne is due to appear in court again on December 7 to allow him to take further legal advice.