AN undergraduate stabbed a fellow Sunderland student during a row over a Facebook comment.
Christopher Lowe was left with a fork sticking out of his arm after he confronted Eamonn Nash over offensive taunts on the social networking site.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Mr Lowe needed stitches and has been left permanently scarred.
Prosecutor Stuart Michie told the court violence flared between the Sunderland University students after Nash, 19, made comments on Facebook about Mr Lowe being an IRA terrorist or somehow connected with the paramilitary organisation.
When Mr Lowe confronted Nash, who lived with Mr Lowe’s friends, about what he had said, a struggle broke out in the kitchen of the student house.
Mr Michie said: “Mr Lowe said when he looked he could see a fork sticking in his arm, which fell out on to the ground.”
Mr Lowe was taken to hospital where his arm was treated and received three stitches.
Nash was arrested and told police he had sent the Facebook message because he felt threatened by Mr Lowe and wanted to “stand up for himself”.
He said had not meant to hurt Mr Lowe when he lashed out with the fork.
The court heard Nash had felt “bullied” during his time at university and had moved accommodation a number of times before the incident because of problems.
In a victim impact statement Mr Lowe said: “As a result of my injury I have been left with a scar on my arm which will be visible when I wear a short sleeved shirt or T-shirt.”
Mr Lowe said he had not been aggressive when he confronted Nash over the Facebook abuse.
He added: “Even in response to his violence, I only tried to push him away.”
Nash, of Beck Road, Newton Hall, County Durham, admitted assault.
Judge Roger Thorn sentenced Nash, who handed to the court many references to his positive character, to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with supervision.
The judge said: “It is ironic this case should come just before university is about to start.
“It exemplifies problems youngsters, not used to living with others, possibly inexperienced with the world and vulnerable themselves, can have dealing with conflict when it arises.”
Judge Thorn said he accepted Nash had felt “bullied” during his studies and there had been a “build- up” to what happened.
Christopher Knox, defending, said: “His university career, he says, is completely destroyed.
“He feels real despair about his future.”
Mr Knox said Nash comes from a successful family and feels deep and real remorse for what he did.
Mr Knox added: “This boy is not going to offend anyone in future. He has learned a very hard lesson.”