Priests’ Parking Brawl: One Bites Off Other’s Ear

I’ve known some clergymen who can chew your ear off, but here’s one who does it literally. And all it took for Father Thomas Byrne to go all Mike Tyson on a colleague was a contested parking space.

An 80-year-old retired priest allegedly bit an ear off another elderly clergyman during a fight over a parking space. The punch-up broke out outside an apartment block, which houses three retired Catholic priests, in Perth, Western Australia.


Father Thomas Henry Byrne [photo, left] has appeared in court charged with grievous bodily harm over the incident involving his neighbour, 81-year-old Father Thomas Joseph Cameron Smith.

If that’s not bizarre enough for you, try this on for size:

According to police, after the brawl Father Byrne told Father Smith to pick up an item up on the ground. It was not until Father Smith returned to his flat that he realised the item he had picked up and put in his pocket was his right ear. Father Smith wrapped his ear in a tea towel and drove to Dianella Medical Centre, where staff phoned for an ambulance and alerted police. He was taken to Perth’s Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital where he underwent surgery to save the ear.

Father Byrne eventually extended his apologies, while Father Smith offered forgiveness.

The ear-biter’s attorney used a temporary-insanity defense, telling the court that his client is a kindly old man whose flesh-ripping attack was “uncharacteristic” and brought on by dementia. The prosecutor downgraded the charges and the judge imposed only a $1,000 fine.