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HITTING BACK; Tooth fairies didn't take my teeth - Dad.

Byline: By GARETH LIGHTFOOT

A DAD who allegedly had teeth hacked from his gums in a knife attack told a jury: "The tooth fairies took my teeth? I don't think so."

Steven Smith, 43, hit back at the claims of four people, including his ex-wife, daughter and stepson, accused of cutting teeth out of his mouth.

The prosecution say he was lured out of his flat, brutally beaten, then had teeth removed with a six to seven-inch blade early on New Year's Day this year.

His ex-wife Katrina Smith, her son Wayne Lappin, the couple's daughter Nikki Smith and unrelated friend Michael Smith all deny the attack.

Steven Smith said he came out of his flat in South Court, South Bank to see his estranged wife in her car, then the other three ran at him, including his daughter armed with a piece of wood.

He said he did not know exactly who ripped out his teeth in his bathroom, causing him to pass out in pain.

He said: "I remember being jumped on and hit a few times and then seeing a blade then I was unconscious.

"I could feel being held down. I could feel somebody on top of me. I was pinned down. I heard somebody say, 'You hold him, I'll hit him.' "I can't be sure who it was. All I remember is a blade getting pushed into my face. One of them's done it, haven't they, or all of them have done it, or two of them have done it. At the end of the day, one of them knows who's done it. They all might know.

"Taking my teeth out, what sort of person does that?"

Through lawyers, Katrina Smith, Wayne Lappin and Nikki Smith denied involvement in the teeth attack.

Steven Smith told one of the barristers: "You're saying this happened just by the tooth fairies, the tooth fairies took my teeth? I don't think so."

He denied allegations that he came "fired up" out of the flat, swung for Lappin with a truncheon then attacked and strangled him.

It was claimed that Lappin head butted Mr Smith in self defence, and Nikki Smith picked up a bat or piece of wood and hit him trying to defend her brother.

"I didn't have the chance to fight or protect myself," added the complainant.

"They've come to me prepared to do what they've done. They've come to my property. I haven't gone to them."

As for Michael Smith, Steven Smith said he never saw him during the attack and did not attribute any words, blows or weapons to him, but heard his voice.

"When I was in the bathroom I know the two lads were in there, but who was holding me and who was hitting me was a different matter. He could've been stopping them for all I know."

Throughout the incident, he said nobody said "stop" or held people back.

The only specific words he heard were: "Kill the b******."

He said he lost 12 teeth from the incident, had more than 100 stitches, lost feeling to his mouth with severed nerves and still needs more surgery.

The four accused from Middlesbrough - Katrina Smith, 40, and Nikki Smith, 20, both of Somerby Terrace, Pallister Park; Lappin, 22, of Malling Walk, Park End; and Michael Smith, 25, of Kinver Close, Berwick Hills - all deny aggravated burglary and wounding with intent.

Proceeding

CAPTION(S):

ATTACK CLAIM: Victim of the alleged assault Steven Smith, left
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 3, 2008
Words:580
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