A former soldier who fractured a man’s jaw was caught after he and his girlfriend sent apology messages to the victim on Facebook, a court heard.
Joseph Andrew Robinson, of Belfield Road, Accrington, punched Sam England outside Snuffy’s bar in Great Harwood.
The incident left the victim with a double-fractured jaw.
Burnley Crown Court heard how Mr England did not know who his attacker was at first.
However, he alerted the police after receiving the guilt-ridden messages over Facebook.
Robinson, 21, who is trained in martial arts, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm, but avoided jail and instead received a suspended prison sentence.
Stephen Parker, prosecuting, told the court how victim Mr England had been on a night out with friends to celebrate his forthcoming 19th birthday.
At around 4am on March 30 this year he spotted a girl he knew being confronted by another man who was pushing her up against a shop window, the court was told.
Mr Parker said he felt concerned for her safety and asked him what he was doing but said he was not looking for a fight.
He said: “The next thing he remembers was being on his hands and knees.
“He didn’t see who had hit him or what happened to him.”
The court heard how Robinson’s girlfriend later sent the victim a Facebook message saying: “I hope you are okay. Did he (Robinson) punch you?
“He wants to know so he can apologise. It all got out of control last night.”
Trainee landscape gardener Robinson also sent a message saying: “I’m sorry about what happened. Man I feel ******* horrible about what I’ve done to you. We all had a lot to drink.
“Everybody was kicking off but I shouldn’t have hit you. I hope you recover soon.
“I’m genuinely sorry. If there’s anything I can do let me know.”
When interviewed by police, Robinson, who has trained to be in the French Foreign Legion, said he was concerned for the’ safety of the man who had been confronting the woman and punched the man ‘holding his shirt’, something Mr England said he had not done.
The court heard how Robinson had spent around £100 on alcohol during the night and hit him once with a ‘clenched fist’.
Peter Turner, defending, said he was a member of a martial arts society and has expressed ‘remorse and total determination to put things right’.
He told the court that he had served in the army for more than two years before being forced to leave due to an injury.
Recorder Barry Searle said he had taken ‘far too much to drink’ and sentenced him to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years. He also ordered him to carry out 240 hours unpaid work, gave him a four-month curfew and ordered him to pay compensation of £750.