A former Royal Marine attacked a farmer whilst out walking in the Lake District after he was asked to wait while he moved his sheep, a court has heard.
Karl Page, 28, left Robin Taylforth with multiple facial fractures after punching him at picturesque Patterdale, close to Ullswater lake, Carlisle Crown Court heard.
Rachel Faux, prosecuting, said the victim was herding a number of ewes and lambs which had strayed on to an open pasture back to his farm.
Page and his girlfriend, Gemma Pemberton, were seen to be “in the midst of an argument about their relationship”.
Mr Taylforth asked the couple to wait as he took his flock across a cattle grid and told Page to “use a bit of common sense”.
Page, from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, then held out his collapsible walking pole in order to stop the Mr Taylforth, who stepped behind the couple.
“There was a further exchange of words and, without warning, suddenly there was a bang to the complainant’s head and pain to the left side of his face,” Ms Faux said.
Mr Taylforth went to hospital where an X-ray revealed he had fractured his eye socket in three places and had a displaced fracture to his left cheekbone.
The fractures were repaired during an operation under general anaesthetic.
However, the farmer later reported difficulty sleeping and said he had had to employ external help to carry out work he could not do.
“He describes being apprehensive when speaking to members of the public passing through the farm,” Ms Faux added.
Page, a keen fell walker, gym owner and personal trainer, told police he had not heard what the farmer had shouted that dayand recalled feeling “threatened and intimidated”.
“He accepted it didn’t excuse what he did. In hindsight he had done completely the wrong thing,” the prosecutor said. He admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm in the incident last May.
Judge James Adkin handed Page an eight-month jail term suspended for two years. He ordered him to observe a five-month night-time curfew and pay his victim £2,000 compensation.
Judge Adkin told him: “It rather looks like you didn’t like being told what to do in front of your girlfriend which, for a 28-year-old, is rather pathetic.”