A BUSINESSMAN from Stone smashed a glass vase in to a drinking buddy's face over a bad taste joke.
Damp-proofing company boss Steven Kelly left the victim, Carl Cherry with a gaping wound, the skin hanging off his cheek, Stafford crown court heard.
It happened while the two men were drinking and watching football in a friend's flat.
Mr Daniel White, prosecuting, said Mr Cherry made an inappropriatre comment and an argument started between him and Thomas Worrall.
It was only a verbal row, but the defendant picked up a glass vase. "He lunged forward and struck it directly in to the face of Mr Cherry, impacting around his cheek."
As a result of the attack, Mr Cherry was cut above the eye and a much bigger wound on his cheek. "The skin of his cheek is described as hanging down." He was taken to hospital to have it sutured.
After being arrested, Kelly said to others in the flat 'he fell over and hit his head'. When questioned Kelly claimed Mr Cherry had squared up to him and tried to gouge him in the eye, so he pushed him and he hit his head on the mantelpiece.
Kelly, aged 34, of Green Close, Stone who admitted a charge of wounding, was given 18 months jail suspended for two years, along with 80 hours unpaid community work and ordered to pay £1,500 costs and £500 compensation to Mr Cherry.
Recorder Mr David Bright told him: "You could have o complaints if I sent you to prison today - you can count yourself very lucky."
The court heard that Kelly had a previous conviction for violence - he was jailed for 15 months in 2007 for hitting a man with a glass ashtray.
Mr Mark Nicholls, defending, said: "Mr Cherry said something he thought was a joke and it wasn't a well liked joke. It was when a schoolgirl was missing in Wales. Kelly is a man with a young daughter and it struck a nerve."
The defendant ran a successful business employing three people and had a wife and young child to support.