Two men who battered an Indian man after a cocaine-fuelled night out in Old Town have been spared jail.

David Fowles had not long split up with his girlfriend of five years when, last December, he sank four or five whiskey and cokes and three or four vodka lemonades before heading into town with pal Rhys Warren.

Swindon Crown Court heard the men had their final drink at Tree nightclub at around 3am on December 7 and left 45 minutes later.

At around 4am they saw two men on Wood Street. Fowles yelled a racist slur, offending one of men – who is Indian – and resulting in him walking up behind the 22-year-old and hitting him in the back of the head.

Fowles and Warren struck back, getting their victim onto the floor and kicking him repeatedly.

The attack left the man’s face bruised and a doctor said later that month he had broken his nose. In a victim personal statement summarised to the court, the man said the racist abuse had deeply upset him. The injuries had meant he was unable to start a new job as planned. He now felt uneasy in public and found himself looking over his shoulder.

Fowles, of Johnson Avenue, Brackley, pleaded guilty on the day of his trial to a racially aggravated assault causing actual bodily harm. Warren, of Ash Grove, Pinehurst, admitted simple ABH.

Tony Bignall, for Fowles, said the breakdown of client’s five year relationship had deeply affected him. “He self-medicated in the way that young men so often do, which was by abusing alcohol and cocaine.”

On the night of the attack he had been in a particularly dark place, the lawyer said. He had used the racially abusive words in order to get a reaction from his victim and given himself a chance to release his pent up aggression.

Fowles was now said to be remorseful and ashamed. Since the brawl he had “picked himself up” and got a new drainage job after he was sacked by his last employer.

Richard Williams, for Warren, said the man was remorseful. Although he had a criminal record, he had no previous convictions for violence. He was in employment and saw his young daughter at weekends. He had moved away from the Rugby area, where he was previously living, in order to make a fresh start.

Judge Peter Crabtree sentenced Fowles to 13 months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered he do 120 hours of unpaid work and rehabilitation days. Warren was given eight months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months and must complete 80 hours of unpaid work and the thinking skills programme. Each man must pay £300 compensation to the victim.

The judge told them: “I don’t want to see you both again.”