A STRAIGHT man broke a gay man's jaw in two places because he pestered him into a relationship and called his girlfriend a 'slag'.

Luke Bannister admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm against Jake Ballinger but was spared an immediate jail sentence at Worcester Crown Court.

The 20-year-old punched Mr Ballinger three times in the face after the victim approached him in the Vault bar in Oxford Street, Kidderminster on January 26 this year.

Bannister, of Lea Street, Kidderminster, told police he had lived with Mr Ballinger for one year and the victim had been texting him on a frequent basis, trying to press him into a relationship which he did not want.

He also told officers the victim had claimed 'sexual contact' took place between them but Bannister had 'no recollection of this'.

Bannister said: "He continued to pester me and say this had occurred and he would tell others. I'm heterosexual. I found these approaches disturbing."

Amiee Parkes, prosecuting, said Mr Ballinger began making derogatory comments about Bannister's girlfriend at the bar in Kidderminster, calling her 'a slag'.

Bannister told Mr Ballinger to go away and leave him alone and went outside to get away from him, the court heard.

Bannister told police: "In a moment of anguish I punched him with a clenched fist on the jaw area. I may have lashed out more than once but don't remember."

He said Mr Ballinger carried on insulting his girlfriend and so he punched him again, accepting that he lost control, claiming he had suffered both provocation and unwanted advances over a long period of time.

"I did not intend to cause the level of injuries" said Bannister.

The victim said that Bannister punched him twice to the chin and walked off before he struck a further blow. The victim rang his mum and dad and he was taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester where he received an x-ray. The victim sustained two fractures, one to the top of the jaw under the left ear and the second to the top of his chin, just under the teeth.

In a victim personal statement Mr Ballinger said: "I suffered with anxiety before this incident but this has made it a whole lot worse."

He added: "I'm having nightmares and I relive the incident over and over in my head. I wake up in the middle of the night sweating and shaking as a result of what Luke has done to me."

He described numbness to his jaw and said he struggled to eat with one side of his mouth. Two plates have been inserted in the chin area of his jaw and he has four screws in his gums.

Siobhan Collins, defending, read out some of the text messages the victim had sent to her client before he was assaulted.

One said he was going to 'go psycho' on the defendant and another said: "Watch me go mental."

The victim also said he would turn up at the defendant's house. Miss Collins said her client had remained 'calm, polite and civil' and in reply Mr Ballinger said he would 'ruin the defendant's life' and that he 'wishes harm on him'.

Despite the provocation Bannister said 'the victim did not deserve this'. Miss Collins said: "This was wholly out of character for him."

Recorder Edward Coke said of the incident: "There came a time when you got fed up and lashed out with one, possibly two blows.

But you didn't stop there. Although he was calling your girlfriend a slag that doesn't justify a third blow.

"It's true that you have not had the best starts in life. It's true you discovered your mother's dead body. It's true you have been affected by that."

The recorder sentenced him to 18 months in a young offender institution suspended for 18 months.

Bannister must complete 40 rehabilitation activity days and a six month alcohol treatment programme and 100 hours of unpaid work.