A MAN who carried out a "savage beating" after he was subjected to gay taunts has been spared a jail sentence.

Anthony Morrison broke Ian Smith's cheekbone, claiming he had harassed him and made inappropriate sexual remarks. Morrison, 22, of Valiant Way, Thornaby, had been at a barbecue with Mr Smith, who is homosexual, when the assault took place.

At Teesside Crown Court, Jim Withyman, prosecuting, said there had been taunts and arguments between the pair at the barbecue in Firbeck Walk, Thornaby, on June 13 last year.

He said Morrison, who had drunk seven or eight pints, punched Mr Smith in the face several times.

Morrison, who admitted causing grievous bodily harm, was said to be a man of impeccable character who regretted his conduct.

Judge Peter Bowers told him: "You gave Mr Smith a pretty savage beating which was fuelled by drink."

The judge ordered Morrison to do 100 hours work in the community and serve a two-year community rehabilitation order. He also ordered Mr Smith to pay £1,500 in compensation.

He said: "You came very close to going to jail today and it is only the fact that it is your first offence and that you showed regret very early on that has kept you out."