WARNING: Article contains graphic content 

A former Watford striker who bit off a chunk of his friend’s ear in a “vicious and gruesome” attack has been spared jail.

Allan Smart, 42, of Woodstock Road, Oxford, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at Swindon Crown Court on Friday.

The Hornets favourite and BBC pundit apparently made advances towards his girlfriend’s friend Lisa Power, 42, on a drunken night out in Swindon in April last year before lunging at her husband Ricky, 51, when she rejected him.

Mr Power was taken to hospital to have the ear glued back on, had seven weeks off work as a result of the trauma, and will have to undergo plastic surgery to reconstruct his earlobe.

READ MORE: Former Watford striker in court on assault charges

Smart was ordered to pay £1,500 in compensation and carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.

Watford Observer:

Speaking following the hearing, horrified Lisa, a chemist, said: "Ricky's ear was completely hacked off and there was so much blood.

"I went into complete shock. I wanted to kill him. Ricky just stood there. Allan smirked at me and then walked out.

“It's awful. He is obviously a violent man and he's not right in the head. Who goes around biting people's ears off? 

"It is disgusting that he's got away with it. Why? Because he is a footballer? If he lived on a council estate he would have gone down. 

"We are gutted. We are mortified. It has been a nightmare for a year and he has walked away." 

Sentencing him, Judge Tim Mousley QC described it as a "vicious and gruesome" assault and said Smart has a "problem with drink". 

"This was a vicious way to inflict injury and the injury of course is very serious," he added. 

"You are normally and quite obviously a thoroughly decent man.

"I have come to the conclusion, although I am bound to say I haven't found it easy to do so, that wholly exceptionally this is a case where the sentence can be suspended." 

In a 16 year playing career, Smart made 56 appearances for the Hornets and famously scored in the 2-0 play-off final win against Bolton Wanderers, propelling Watford into the Premier League for the first time in their history.