A man who beat his love rival with such ferocity that he fractured his knuckles has been spared jail - so he can compensate his victim and not cost the taxpayer.

Jeffrey Bates was told by Judge Anthony Cleary at Stafford Crown Court that jailing him meant he would not be able to compensate Darren Turner, who needed reconstructive surgery after the attack.

The judge also said it would cost the taxpayer to keep Bates behind bars.

Bates (39), of Angelica, Amington, Tamworth, pleaded guilty to malicious wounding.

He was given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 100 hours community service and pay Mr Turner £3,000 compensation. He was also told to pay £604 prosecution costs.

Nick Burns, prosecuting, said the woman involved, Sharon Williams, had three children when she lived with Mr Turner but then went back to live with Bates.

"He attacked Mr Turner in the street when he turned up at his house. He was bundled out into the street and subjected to a beating until he realised his knuckle was fractured. Mr Turner's children, aged ten, five and four, were in the house at the time and a neighbour was woken up by their shouting," said Mr Burns.

In his witness statement Mr Turner said he underwent an operation to reconstruct his eye socket because of horrific injuries.

"I have panic attacks, nightmares, and my face is still numb down the left side. I sometimes get double vision. I always took pride in my appearance but now I feel a freak."

Mr Turner said he was offered a job at Toyota but lost it because of his eye injuries.

"I have double vision, wear sunglasses in the house, have lost my sense of smell and cannot drive. It may be months, years or never before I get back to normal."

Paul Mytton, defending, said: "There is very real and a genuine sense of shame. He does not seek to minimise or blame and it was something completely out of character."