A KARATE teacher “lost it” during a row with his girlfriend and hit her in the face, breaking her nose, a court was told.
Gary Blake, 48, of Honeysuckle close in Barnstaple, was visiting a woman at her home in Stroud on March 10 this year when he hit her, Gloucester Crown Court heard.
It was the first blot on the record of a respected company manager and martial arts instructor who had an impeccable past.
Smartly dressed Blake – a 4th dan martial arts exponent – pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC sentenced him to a community order with a condition to do 200 hours of unpaid work. He also ordered him to pay £420 costs.
Tim Hills, for the prosecution, said Blake and the woman had been in an on/off relationship for some years.
She had lived in Devon but moved with her children to Stroud where Blake visited her.
The pair were out for the evening when an argument developed.
Mr Hills said: “She says he then hit her in the face and she suffered a broken nose.
“The police arrived a short time later and found her in a state of distress with blood on the furniture. The defendant was arrested.”
Judge Tabor said he had read her victim impact statement which indicated she had felt she had to move home after the assault.
Giles Nelson, for the defence, said Blake had admitted the assault on the basis that he did it recklessly.
The barrister described Blake as a real giver in life, doing a lot of voluntary work as well as being a martial arts instructor.
He was well respected in his employment as a manager and earns £28,500 a year, added Mr Nelson.
Sentencing Blake, Judge Tabor said: “You have an impeccable record. You have a long history of voluntary service. All the letters of reference I have seen suggest you are a very caring, loving member of your family.
“This makes it all the more extraordinary that you should end up recklessly lashing out and causing the injury you did to your then girlfriend.
“You just lost it. For a man who is a karate teacher that is all the more surprising given that one of the facets of that sport is self control.”