Two men who carried out a vicious attack on a trainee paramedic have been given a community sentence because they would lose their jobs if jailed.
Nik Mann and Jake Roe 'serve country and community'
Stephen Mason was attacked in Nuneaton, Warwickshire in August last year. He was unconscious for 12 hours and off work for four months.
Soldier Jake Roe, 21, of Polesworth and doctor Nik Mann, 27, of Birmingham, were given 200 hours community service.
Judge Marten Coates said he would not jail them because of their jobs.
At Warwick Crown Court Roe, of Fairfields Hill, and Mann, of War Lane, a doctor at Birmingham's City Hospital, admitted grievous bodily harm and also ordered to pay £300 compensation to Mr Mason.
They could have received a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Stephen Mason after the attack
The judge said he had not chosen the "soft option", but that the reality was they would only serve a few months in prison and with overcrowding, governors had the discretion to release them earlier.
"If they receive prison sentences they will lose their jobs which serve the country and the community," he said.
"I am aware people are looking at this case but I have no choice.
"Prisons are so full at the moment - governors have the discretion to let people out before their sentences are completed."
Their defence lawyer said they both deeply regretted what they had done.
Mick Fennell of West Midlands Ambulance Service spoke of his shock that a doctor was involved in the attack.
"We are used to violence but when it is a member of the profession - you just don't expect it," he said.