Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Friday, 4 September 2009 17:30 UK

Jilted historian attacked friend

A social historian has been given a suspended jail sentence after repeatedly punching a friend who was having a relationship with his partner.

Lawrence Westgaph, 34, from Merseyside, left Ben Blanche with a broken eye socket after finding him with Natalie Inge, the mother of his son.

Liverpool Crown Court was told the violence was "out of character".

Westgaph, of Edge Hill, had admitted grievous bodily harm and was jailed for nine months, suspended for two years.

He was also given a two-year supervision order.

Philip Astbury, prosecuting, told the court Westgaph had visited Miss Inge's home in Toxteth, Liverpool, last February after becoming concerned for the welfare of her and their son.

Jimmy McGovern

When he entered the property he saw Ms Inge at the top of the stairs and soon became aware of Mr Blanche, described as one of Westgaph's closest friends, who was in the bedroom.

Mr Astbury told the court that Ms Inge believed her relationship with Westgaph was over at the time of the attack, although he might not have been aware of her feelings.

It is clear that your temper took over
Judge Bryn Holloway

Mr Astbury handed the judge letters from Miss Inge and Mr Blanche in which they both said they did not want Westgaph to be sent to jail.

David Williams, in mitigation, gave the judge several references from supporters of Westgaph, including former MP Lord Alton of Liverpool and Bafta-winning scriptwriter Jimmy McGovern.

He said Westgaph, who had been electronically tagged while on remand, was working on a new project for the University of Liverpool.

Judge Bryn Holloway said: "This incident, although not condoned by what you discovered about Miss Inge and Mr Blanche, can be explained by it.

"It is clear that your temper took over. The result was short but violent and resulted in a number of unpleasant injuries."

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