AN attacker who broke the jaw of his victim while he was out on a Christmas works party has escaped an immediate jail sentence.

Nathan Johnson, aged 29, of Caer Odyn, Blaina, punched Andrew Troake in the town on December 22, 2017.

Prosecutor Laurence Jones told Newport Crown Court how the unprovoked assault occurred as the victim was making his way to the White Lion pub when he was socialising with colleagues at their festive get-together.

He had only drank one pint of lager at the Bush Inn before he came across Johnson.

Judge Daniel Williams heard there was a “history” between the two men.

Mr Jones said: “The defendant wrongly accused the victim of causing damage to his property. He told him, ‘You did my tyres.’”

The court heard Johnson’s single punch knocked Mr Troake to the ground and broke some of his teeth as well as shattering his jaw.

The victim was taken to Abergavenny’s Nevill Hall Hospital before he was transferred to Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital where he underwent facial surgery on Christmas Eve.

Mr Jones read Mr Troake’s victim impact statement which detailed how his confidence had been “seriously impacted” as a result of the attack.

The court heard how he had had to take a “considerable amount of time off work” which meant he had also financially suffered.

Johnson had two previous convictions, dangerous driving from 2009 and criminal damage in 2017.

Judge Williams asked Mr Jones why the case had taken more than a year to reach its conclusion.

He was told that the defendant had been due to voluntarily attend two police interviews but failed to turn up, once because he told them he was hungover.

The judge said Johnson should have been arrested and the delay in bringing the case to court would be used as a mitigating factor when it came to sentencing.

Jeffrey Jones, representing the defendant, said his client had no previous convictions for violence.

He added: “He drank to excess on that day to combat stress.”

Johnson was jailed for six months, suspended for one year.

He must also carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, pay prosecution costs of £450 and a victim surcharge of £115.