A MARTIAL art fan who attacked a teenager, leaving him with a smashed jaw in two places, was caught by police after he admitted the offence on Facebook.

Joseph Robinson, 21, punched Sam England, 18, once with a clenched fist and knocked him to the ground.

Later, both Robinson and his girlfriend sent messages to the victim, saying the defendant had hit him and apologising for the violence.

Robinson, who has never been in trouble before, had ‘glowing testimonials’ about him handed to a judge, who said the defendant had been seen as a role model.

Mr England, who had been on a pre-birthday night out in Great Harwood, needed surgery and also suffered numbness which he believed was due to nerve damage, after the attack on March 30.

The hearing was told the defendant’s girlfriend contacted Mr England via social media and Robinson also sent a message which said: “I feel horrible about what I have done to you.

“We all had a lot to drink and everything was kicking off, but I shouldn’t have hit you and it was wrong. I hope you recover soon and I am genuinely sorry.

“If there is anything I can do to make it right, let me know.”

Robinson, of Belfield Road, Accrington, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm. He received 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, with 240 hours’ unpaid work and a four-month, 8pm to 7am curfew. He must pay £750 compensation.

Prosecutor Stephen Parker said Mr England, whose 19th birthday had been two days away, was with friends in Snuffy’s bar.

He went outside shortly before 4am and saw a girl he knew being confronted by a lad he knew as Josh. Mr England was concerned for her, stood between the two and asked the lad what he was doing.

He was pushed backwards by a male and the next thing he remembered was being on his hands and knees.

Mr Parker said an X-ray revealed a double fracture of the jaw.

Robinson accepted the person he had struck had not offered any violence to him personally, but claimed he thought he may have done so towards his friend. The defendant added: “I know his injuries were bad and I felt very sorry for him.”

Mr Parker said: “He accepted it was uncalled for. On his own admission he was very drunk and had spent about £100 that night.”

Recorder Barry Searle said the defendant was well regarded and a letter from his current employer described him as a hard worker and a valued member of the team.