AN Afghanistan veteran fractured another customer’s eye socket because he thought the victim was trying to chat up his girlfriend.
Former squaddie Alan Collinson, 25, rained blows down on Jamie Fleming during the assault in a Hartlepool pub.
Collinson launched the attack as Fleming was about to leave the Princess Helena, in Whitby Street, and went over to say goodbye to Mr Collinson’s girlfriend first.
He had previously warned Fleming off when he thought he believed he was overstepping the mark with his girlfriend.
But prosecutors at Teesside Crown Court said the attack was “without provocation”.
Collinson, who has served in Afghanistan with the Army, was spared jail when he was sentenced on Monday.
He admitted grievous bodily harm but a court hearing was held to decide whether he was provoked.
But the judge accepted the evidence of the victim.
Describing the incident at a previous hearing, Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, said: “As Mr Fleming made his way to the door he approached a rail in the bar, leaned over to perhaps say goodbye to the young lady.
“As he did so he noticed the defendant run towards him from the side and attack him.
“It was an attack, the prosecution say, that was unprovoked.”
Mr Perks added: “The defendant punched Mr Fleming and he fell to the floor.
“He punched him again to the face and while on his back the defendant rained punches down on both sides of his head.”
Door staff broke it up and Mr Fleming went to hospital the next day.
An X-ray revealed a fracture underneath one eye which needed an operation.
He also had double vision for around three weeks.
Robin Denny, mitigating for Collinson, who had no previous convictions, said: “The defendant obviously much regrets what he did.
“He has been very remorseful about the seriousness of the injury but he is a thoroughly decent individual.”
Collinson, of Grasmere Street, Hartlepool, received 12 months prison, suspended for 12 months, with supervision by the probation service.
He was also given a three-month curfew from 10pm-7am on Fridays and Saturdays and ordered to pay Mr Fleming £1,500 compensation.