A FORKLIFT truck driver who broke his pregnant partner's arm when he hit her with a walking stick during a New Year's Eve row has been allowed to keep his freedom.

Judge Dean Kershaw told 38-year-old Farrey St.Luce that his former girlfriend, Tezian Aaron, had made it clear she did not want him put behind bars for the attack.

And he ruled he was able to avoid sending him straight into custody for what he described as a "totally disgusting" attack because he showed genuine shame and remorse.

"What you did to that young lady and her unborn child was horrific," said the judge.

"You lost your temper. You did not just strike her once with the walking stick - you got angry.

"You picked up the stick and you hit her with such force you split it."

The judge said he had watched St.Luce while a CCTV recording of the incident was played in court, adding: "I could see you were genuinely embarrassed.

"You are not normally a violent man so I am prepared to take a chance with you."

St.Luce, of Burton Road, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm and he was given a two year jail term suspended for two years.

He must also carry out 150 hours unpaid work.

Howard Searle, prosecuting, told Wolverhampton Crown Court that Miss Aaron was six months pregnant with St.Luce's child and he hit her on the arm with the walking stick and twice on the legs.

The pair had argued on New Year's Eve because she had not prepared any food for him or his son - from a previous relationship - and it was then he got extremely angry.

Dean Easthope, defending, said St.Luce could not believe what he had done and he had acted completely out of character. "He is feeling very emotional about what happened. It was definitely an isolated incident," he said.

"He just snapped. It was one night of madness that has had catastrophic results because he has now lost his family.

"He had been reflecting on what had been a terrible year and he just could not see his life getting any better."

Mr Easthope said St.Luce had been struggling to find work after losing his previous job and at the time he had been worried about his financial situation.