A WAREHOUSE worker battered his ex-wife’s new lover, shattering the victim’s eye socket, a court was told.

In an unprovoked attack, Mark Nicholas, who works for Hampshire-based contact lens specialists CooperVision, jumped out of his car and launched the attack on Robert Arnold.

Striking Mr Arnold with one single punch, the 47-year-old fractured his victim’s cheek, leaving him out of work for three weeks and in need of surgery.

Southampton Crown Court heard that Nicholas, who pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm and battery, had seen Mr Arnold and his ex-wife out walking together in Southampton.

Nicholas, who was described in court as a “loving family man”, decided to get out of his vehicle before heading straight for the couple.

Prosecutor Roderick Blaine told the court Nicholas then pushed his ex-wife out of the way and struck Mr Arnold.

Mr Blane added that he hit Mr Arnold with such force that he was hospitalised and needed an operation under general aesthetic to realign his jaw.

He said: “A security guard just across the road from the incident described seeing blood from Mr Arnold’s face... it was an unprovoked assault.”

In a victim impact statement, which was read out to the court, Mr Arnold said he felt nervous about going outside and leaving his home.

Nicholas’s ex-wife and Mr Arnold pleaded for Nicholas not be sent to prison as he helps support financially and with lifts.

Gregory Fishwick, mitigating, told the court Nicholas, a man of previous good character, had apologised to the victim and was seen as a decent man, describing the incident as “completely out of character”.

He added: “Nicholas is sorry and shown remorse for what he has done.”

Nicholas, of Spring Road, was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.

He must complete 100 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay £600 compensation