A drug debt enforcer and his hired thug have been jailed for an attack on a father whose nose was bitten off at a Christmas party.
Andrew Pile and henchman Dayle Rees attacked victim Richard Sachaidac in front of young children just minutes after he had returned from a Santa Experience train ride.
Pile was trying to make him pay a £1,000 drug debt owed by his son and when the two men ambushed him at a wine bar in Teignmouth.
They set on him when he refused to pay and Rees hit him with a hammer while Pile dragged him to the ground and bit off a 50 pence sized piece of his nose.
The group of men fell into the Christmas tree at the No 9 Bistro, where staff tried without success to save Mr Sachaidac’s nose by packing it in frozen peas.
The attackers fled when the victim fought back with a bottle and a customer in the bar shouted out the name of Rees’s employer, which was written on the high visibility tabard he was wearing.
Pile went to a friend’s house and deliberately inflicted a cut on his own head so he could claim he had acted in self-defence, but he was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court in June.
Pile, aged 32, of Mill Lane, Teignmouth, was found guilty of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Rees, aged 32, of Greenway, Exeter, admitted the same charge and gave evidence against Pile at the trial.
Pile was jailed for eight years with a three year extended licence and Rees was jailed for four years by Recorder Mr Edward Burgess, QC.
He said: “This was a short but vicious attack which took place in front of two young girls aged five and ten, who were plainly distressed, although they were ushered away into the kitchen.
“Pile was trying to enforce payment by Mr Sachaidac of a debt and had made persistent demands for payment. He had been to the wine bar at lunch time when Mr Sachaidac was not there and made it clear he intended to claim £1,000 that day.
“It is clear he brought Rees to enforce the payment and he was, in the words of the prosecution, hired muscle. There is no doubt Pile used his teeth as a weapon with which to inflict injury.
“This was an attack by the two defendants on a single man and the intention was to cause more serious harm than was actually suffered.
“It happened in a public bar and restaurant where members of the public were congregated including two young girls. Threats had been made previously by Pile, who had said what he wanted to do to Mr Sachaidac.
“He was plainly the lead offender. I conclude he is a dangerous offender.”
During a week-long trial the jury heard from Mr Sachaidac how he received threats the day before the attack and on his mobile phone while he was with his daughter on the Santa Experience in December last year.
Pile was demanding he pay a £1,000 debt allegedly run up by his son 22-year-old son Liam Hill for drugs. He told him it was nothing to do with him and he would not pay.
He was with a group of friends and family at the bistro in Northumberland Place at about 3.30 pm when Pile came in with Rees, who he had never met before.
Mr Sachaidac, aged 51, said he used a beer bottle to fight for his life during the attack in which he believed Pile had a craft knife.
He said: “I had to defend myself with the bottle. You’d do the same if two people came at you, one with a knife and one with a hammer. Do you think I wanted all that with a five-year-old and a ten-year-old at a Christmas dinner?”
Pile chose not to give evidence. His barrister Mr Adam Vaitalingam, QC, said he has a supportive family and has been a hard-working man for several years.
Rees claimed he had been duped into taking part in the attack and used a hammer to hit Mr Sachaidac to stop him hitting Rees with the bottle.
Mr Barry White, for Rees, said he deserves credit for helping the police and giving evidence against Pile at the trial. He said he would not have been wearing his easily identifiable work tabard if he had been anticipating violence in the wine bar.