A THUG who attacked a woman after she told him she had found a new partner before leading a gang to beat the man up has been spared jail.

Mark Head, 27, of St Andrew's Road, Didcot had denied two counts of causing criminal damage, two of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one assault.

He was convicted and appeared for sentencing at Oxford Crown Court yesterday.

Prosecutor Cathy Olliver said Head had been a 'close friend' with the woman but once she told him she was seeing somebody else he 'seemed disappointed'.

The friendship quickly soured between the pair and he told her he would 'get her deported unless her boyfriend paid him £50,000.'

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On February 28 the first incident of violence took place and Head confronted the woman and her boyfriend in a parked car.

During a struggle Head appeared to have the woman in a headlock, the court heard, and when she was pushed to the ground she broke her finger.

Not content to stop there Head returned again on March 6, this time with a gang with him, and they proceeded to repeatedly beat the woman's new partner, at one stage using a bottle during the onslaught.

The violence only ended when the police arrived and the car was also damaged, costing £1,500 in repairs.

Sentencing, Judge Ian Pringle QC jailed him for 18 months, suspended for two years and ordered that he carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and obey an overnight curfew for two months.