A NEW dad has been sentenced to five months in prison after smashing a man in the face with a knuckle duster after a row on a bus.

Morgan Cole had been arguing with a man he knew on the public transport system.

And when the pair got off at a stop in Stones Green, Cole thought his pregnant girlfriend had been injured by the other man in a scuffle so armed himself with a knuckle duster and hit him in the cheek.

Cole, of Cliff Road, Dovercourt, had previously been caught with a similar weapon when he was a teenager.

The 23-year-old initially only admitted possession of the weapon but also accepted he was guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on the day of a scheduled trial in February.

He was handed bail to be at the birth of his daughter, but Judge David Turner QC said he had no choice but to send him to prison for five months.

Addressing Cole at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday, he said: “There was a background to that argument because of some previous falling out.

“You got off the bus together and you may have been mistaken about something which had happened to your partner but you got out the weapon, applied it to your hand and struck him with some force.

“This was intentional and calculated violence, it was unnecessary and unjustifiable.

“You have a previous conviction involving a knuckle duster and it seems to be, regrettably, your weapon of choice.”

Judge Turner said he hoped Cole’s baby daughter would be a motivation for him to stop offending.

He also imposed a restraining order for two years, stopping Cole from contacting the victim.

Gavin Burrell, mitigating, said Cole was carrying the weapon during the time of the incident last June because he had been attacked in the weeks leading up to it.

He said: “He holds his hands up to say he was at fault.

“He acts in that way because his girlfriend was between the two parties and he thinks she has received a blow to her mouth. He thought she was in danger.”