A BUSINESSMAN jailed for a racist verbal assault on a young woman in a pub avoided prison in his youth despite a string of violent offences, The Argus can reveal.

Chris Gargan, 55, is serving a four-month sentence for his outburst in the Fiveways pub in Brighton in April.

The case has provoked comparisons with more serious offenders who were spared jail but The Argus has discovered the previous convictions and Gargan’s history of violent crime as a young man.

From 1977 and 1987, when he was aged between 16 and 26, he was found guilty of 14 crimes including five convictions for actual bodily harm.

Each time he received either a non-custodial sentence, or, for his worst crimes, a 12-month suspended prison sentence.

Yesterday his former colleagues at multi-million-pound Brighton property management company the KSD Group, rushed to disown Gargan.

Companies House lists him as a director of KSD Support Service Ltd – a post he has held since 2001 – and a member or director of three other arms of the group.

But a spokesman said the records would be updated this morning following meetings with legal advisers and accountants yesterday.

Chief executive of the group Richard Crotty said: “Late on Friday 23 June 2017, one of the shareholders and directors of KSD was convicted of a criminal offence.

“On Saturday 24 June 2017 with immediate effect, the remaining shareholders and directors removed the director in question from the board of directors of the company.

“The director in question was not an active officer within KSD and will no longer have any association with any KSD Group company.

“KSD wishes to reassure all our valued customers, clients, suppliers and partner organisations that it has always been, and will continue to be, strongly opposed to discrimination of any form whatsoever, at any level.

“It has always been, and will continue to be, committed to taking all steps within its power as an employer to counteract it.

“KSD does not and will not tolerate racist behaviour or discrimination of any kind and will take all and every necessary step to deal with such conduct.”

Whitehawk FC, where Gargan was an investor and former president, released a statement saying Gargan “is no longer associated with the club in any capacity with immediate effect”.

In a series of tweets, the club’s anti-racist “Ultra” fans said they were “disgusted and ashamed”.

They insisted their family friendly and welcoming atmosphere would continue unchanged.