Property developer Craig Pesch, 34, left Ratid Shilaka, 71, drinking liquidised food through a straw after launching a vicious attack on him following a night out.

Pesch had spent the night drinking £14,000 of vintage champagne at exclusive private members club Maddox in Mayfair, London, when he ordered a cab home. When Mr Shilaka arrived, driving the cab, he struggled to find Pesch's address on his SatNav because it was a new development. Pesch flew into a rage, got out and opened the driver's door before throwing a volley of punches in the victim's face. He then fled the scene while Mr Shilaka was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.

His jaw was left so badly broken it had to be rewired, several teeth were displaced, and he has been unable to work ever since.

Pesch, of Kings Road, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, admitted causing grievous bodily harm in March but magistrates decided the offence was so serious he should be sentenced by a Crown Court.

However, Recorder Stephen Hofmeyr QC allowed him to walk free, suggesting there were factors "which tend to reduce the seriousness or reflect personal mitigation." Character witness Julia Bayliss - a friend of Pesch's parents - described the defendant as "quite a gentle person" and said she had never seen him "worse for wear" because of alcohol.

But at an earlier hearing, prosecutor Edward Aydin had likened the attack to Robert De Niro's portrayal of ultra violent boxing middleweight Jake La Motta. "Mr Shilaka was a punching bag for a Raging Bull," said Mr Aydin.  Mr Pesch mercilessly punched the victim in a sustained attack with immense force. He was strapped into his seatbelt at the time and Mr Pesch was knocking him around like a rag doll."

Mr Aydin said: "In all the witness statements there is no evidence of him being drunk, of him being unsteady, or his speech slurred, it's only him saying he was drunk and had drank £14,000 worth of alcohol. Mr Pesch gave him a beating he will never ever forget, and no-one will know if Mr Shilaka will get his self-esteem back and his dignity as a man."

Defence barrister William Clegg QC said Pesch was "deeply ashamed" and has not drank alcohol since the incident.

Despite the seriousness of the offence, Judge Hofmeyr handed Pesch just a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

Pesch was also ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and to pay Mr Shilaka £1,000 in medical compensation.