A JILTED boyfriend punched his love rival and then boasted to his former partner that he had “knocked him out cold”.

At Bolton Crown Court, Paul Smith, aged 48, was sentenced to 10 months in prison suspended for a year.

Guy Mathieson, prosecuting, told the court how, on November 12 last year, Smith sent an abusive text to former partner Tracey Sandiford, accusing her of having started a new relationship before they split up.

Then, in the afternoon, Smith went to the building site where Adrian Gerrard was working and confronted him.

Mr Mathieson said: “He was angry and aggressive about the nature of the relationship between Mr Gerrard and Miss Sandiford, particularly about when it had started.

“Nothing Mr Gerrard could say could calm Mr Smith down.”

Mr Gerrard turned to walk away but Smith punched him to the side of the face and then, as Mr Gerrard ran away he tripped and fell, losing consciousness.

The victim was taken to hospital, where he needed two lots of surgery to insert plates and bolts into his broken jaw.

Mr Mathieson said it is not clear whether the injury was caused by the punch or when Mr Gerrard fell.

Shortly after the confrontation Smith went to Swinton Insurance, where Miss Sandiford works, and boasted that he had “knocked him out cold”.

Smith, aged 48, of Martin Avenue, Farnworth, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.

Wayne Jackson, defending, said Smith, who has previously served in the armed forces and ran an activity centre, accepted responsibility for his behaviour.

Mr Jackson said: “It’s a fact of life that sometimes these situations are heated.

“He is very remorseful and embarrassed at his involvement in the incident.”

Smith was also sentenced to 100 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 prosecution costs plus a £100 victim surcharge.

Recorder Rowena Goode said: “Jealousy or rage or whatever overcame you and you behaved in a way which was clearly out of character for you.”