A JEALOUS father-of-three hit his love rival over the head with a bar bell after finding him in his estranged wife’s house having a mid-morning cup of tea.

Burnley Crown Court heard how cracks had begun to appear in 36-year-old John Nolan’s marriage in 2018 and he suspected his partner of 17 years was having an affair.

Prosecuting, Paul Dockery said that relationship ended last February and Nolan moved out of the family home in Clayton-le-Moors and down to Middlesex.

However, Nolan travelled back north in midweek for work in Altham and to look after his children on weekends. While he was back in East Lancashire Nolan stayed in the family home.

Mr Dockery said that on March 4 Nolan had done the school run, gone to work and returned to the family home in Clayton-le-Moors around 10.30am.

He saw his estranged wife sitting in the living room with victim Gary Kearns – a man Nolan believed was his estranged wife’s boyfriend at the time but a man he previously suspected she was having an affair with.

Nolan then returned to his car, picked up a bar bell from his boot and approached the house. Despite having a key to the front door, Nolan decided to enter through the back and confronted his estranged wife and Mr Kearns.

Mr Dockery said: “She describes how the defendant pushed past her and delivered a blow with the bar bell he had in his hand. It was a single blow to the head of Mr Kearns on the left-hand side.

“She immediately pushed the defendant out of the back door. The defendant was still fired up and went to the front door and was still shouting with the bar bell in his hand.”

Mr Kearns needed six stitches for a 10cm laceration to his head.

Nolan, of Yew Avenue, West Drayton, who has no previous convictions, admitted wounding without intent.

Defending, Neil Howard said his client accepted he was the aggressor, but following the incident placed the bar bell into the boot of his car, went to the end of the road and waited to be arrested. He said Nolan took the bar bell into the house to defend himself because he suspected there maybe some sort of confrontation.

Mr Howard said: “He is someone who expresses genuine remorse. He talked in the pre-sentence report about being deeply ashamed about this incident and it being out of character in a period of emotional trauma.

“He says he appreciates his children would have been disgusted by his actions. This is not the example he has set for them.”

Sentencing Nolan to 18 months custody, but suspending it for 18 months, Recorder Jeremy Lasker said: “You went into that house hoping for, anticipating or seeing the possibility of their being some violence. And there was. It seems to me all the criminality and violence was on your part.”

Nolan was ordered to pay £1,250 compensation and complete 150 hours of unpaid work.