A FORMER soldier has walked free from court after he ‘lost control’ and bit a suspected love rival.

Gary Jones was convicted last month at Dorchester Crown Court of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

A jury found that Jones, of Bayard Road, Weymouth assaulted Jonathan Storey on The Esplanade in December 2012.

The court heard that 43-year-old Jones had bitten the victim so hard that he needed an operation.

But because of Jones’s ‘background and circumstances’, Judge Roger Jarvis said he could receive a punishment that did not involve imprisonment.

During the trial, the court heard that trouble began in Finn’s on Weston Road in Weymouth when Jones saw Mr Storey and his former partner together.

Mr Storey said he had taken Jones to one side and told him: “We’re grown men, there’s no need for this.”

But although he thought the situation was over, Jones – who he described as ‘wild’ and ‘agitated’ – followed him to The Esplanade.

The pair fell to the floor in a struggle, the court heard.

Mr Storey said once he got free he called the police but Jones punched him in the head and knocked the phone flying.

Jones had said he had a ‘red mist’ which meant he lost control when he thought something was happening between Mr Storey and his former partner.

In mitigation, Tim Shorter said the defendant was a ‘credit to the community’ who had left the armed forces with an ‘unblemished’ and ‘excellent’ record.

Judge Jarvis ordered Jones to pay £350 to Mr Storey within the next three months.

He also sentenced the defendant to a community order and 200 hours of unpaid work, telling him: “Later on you saw them getting into a taxi and you completely lost control of your temper.

“Both Mr Storey and the woman had reassured you that there was nothing in their friendship that need trouble you.

“The fact is that your jealousy and suspicion overruled your judgement.

“You told Mr Storey that sometimes you get what you describe as a red mist and when you get that red mist you lose control.”