A MAN who broke his father's jaw after a row over an unpaid council tax bill turned violent has been spared jail.

Mark Pidsley, of North Leigh, Oxfordshire, was set to stand trial for the single count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm but changed his mind at Oxford Crown Court yesterday and pleaded guilty.

The 25-year old, the court heard, had previously fallen into arrears paying his council tax and his father had stepped in and agreed to pay it for him.

The agreement included his son paying him back in small amounts.

When on the morning of July 7 last year a letter arrived telling him that the council tax had in fact not been paid at all Pidsley snapped and launched into a rage at his father Steven.

Asked to leave the house Pidsley complied before realising he had left his car keys inside.

Then on trying to re-enter the house his father stopped him at the door before his son struck him with a single blow that sent him to the floor and left him with a fractured cheek bone.

In mitigation, Gareth James said that his client was 'horrified' at the impact the single blow had had on his family and called the dispute 'a storm in a tea cup'.

Sentencing, Judge Ian Pringle QC said: "You struck your father with a full-blooded blow with your fist to his left cheek and as a result of that he suffered a serious fracture.

"I have read in your pre-sentence report you feel horrible about what you did and rightly so."

Pidsley was given a one-year community order to include 180 hours of unpaid work and 30 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement.

He must also pay a victim surcharge but was not ordered to pay any compensation or be subject to a restraining order.