updated 8/24/2007 5:57:19 PM ET 2007-08-24T21:57:19

A Northern Ireland man bit off the head of his girlfriend’s pet snake during a fight and remarked that it “tasted lovely,” lawyers testified Friday.

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Shane Cooke, a 33-year-old bricklayer, was arraigned in Belfast High Court on charges of assaulting his girlfriend, Coleen McGleenon, and fatally torturing her royal python Aug. 4.

McGleenon’s lawyers said he headbutted her twice and picked up her pet, put it in his mouth, and threw its severed head at her.

“Your snake tasted lovely,” he was quoted as saying.

Cooke’s lawyer, Adrian Higgins, said his client admitted both offenses and had attacked the snake because he knew his girlfriend loved it.

He said Cooke, from the border village of Keady, had been consuming alcoholic drinks for several hours before the attack.

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