A FATHER-of-three who went after his former partner’s new lover with a pitchfork has dodged jail.

Defence counsel Richard English told Preston Crown Court his client David Bond had been drinking before the attack on Robert Deary in Blackburn.

Bond had spotted a range of garden implements behind his door and armed himself, before setting out for his ex-lover Rachel Clemence’s home in a taxi, the court heard.

Prosecutor Karen Brooks said the incident, in Gloucester Road, ended with the 45-year-old assaulting Mr Deary and Miss Clemence.

And before he was arrested he had brandished the pitchfork at his 17-year-old stepson Jason and smashed the front window of Miss Clemence’s home, she added.

The defendant’s two younger sons, aged 10 and six, had also witnessed the violence and had been upset by the incident, the court was told.

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Mrs Brooks said in the run-up to the confrontation Bond had also been cautioned over his conduct towards Miss Clemence.

Police had also served him with a harassment warning after he bombarded her with more than 500 texts, the court heard.

Bond, of Dalton Close, Blackburn, who pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon, two charges of assault and criminal damage, was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He must also complete 150 hours' community service and take part in 10 rehabilitation activity days with the probation service.

Passing sentence, Recorder Alex Leach also imposed a restraining order, indefinitely prohibiting contact between Bond and Miss Clemence and Mr Deary.

Mr Leach said that the pitchfork “was just short of being considered a highly dangerous weapon".

But the judge noted that it had been used to menace Mr Deary and Miss Clemence and pointed directly at the stomach of Bond’s stepson.

Mr English said: “The defendant is ashamed and remorseful and accepts that his behaviour was totally unacceptable.”

But Bond had no previous criminal convictions and the offending could be regarded as out-of-character for a man of 45, he added.

The defendant had been in a long-term relationship and felt that he had been treated poorly when this came to an end, Mr English told the court, with little access provided to their children.

Bond now wanted to put the incident behind him and work on rebuilding his relationship with his children and especially with his stepson, he added.