A police officer convicted of attacking a man so violently it caused him to let out "screams of terror" will be spared jail.

A barman heard Martin Lovett crying for help as he was pinned to the ground by off-duty Sussex Police constable Robert Rangeley outside a nightclub in the early hours of January 5 2017.

George Baker, who worked at Maxims in Eastbourne, East Sussex, was about to leave work when he heard the commotion in the street nearby.

A jury heard how Mr Baker described finding the 33-year-old lying on the floor covered in blood, with Rangeley and fellow officer Paul Bridger on top of him.

The pair, both 39, stood trial after denying a joint charge of occasioning actual bodily harm.

A jury of seven men and five women found Rangeley guilty at Brighton Crown Court on Thursday after deliberating for eight hours and 39 minutes. Bridger was acquitted.

There were gasps of relief from Bridger's family who sat in court to hear the verdict announced while his mother began to sob uncontrollably.

But Rangeley, dressed in a grey suit, looked completely stunned at news of his conviction. He grew pale and his head began to twitch before he looked at the floor.

The Eastbourne-based officer, who was on sick leave at the time and later suspended from duty, initially told police and paramedics at the scene he was responsible and apologised. But he later claimed he had blacked out and did not remember the assault.

The pair were arrested while Mr Lovett was taken to hospital and treated for a cut above his eye before being discharged.

During the 11-day trial the court heard Bridger believed he used reasonable force and was acting in Rangeley's defence.

Robin Griffiths, prosecuting, said Mr Lovett was subjected to "unlawful violence" with the intention of being punished for an earlier row in which Rangeley was punched in the face and fell to the floor.

Mr Griffiths said: "What happened to Mr Lovett was simply inexcusable," adding that Rangeley had given the impression of caring rather than being an assailant.

Bar staff had seen Rangeley fall to the floor earlier in the evening and get back up "immediately", despite him claiming he fell unconscious.

Recorder Kenneth Hamer told the court: "I will not be imposing an immediate custodial prison sentence."

Rangeley, who was released on bail, is due to be sentenced on June 25.

Bridger, a Lewes-based response officer who lives in Polegate, was suspended from duty two months after the incident. His arrest came three years after he was commended by the force for chasing and arresting a rape suspect while injured.

Sussex Police is now considering disciplinary action.

Detective Superintendent Steve Boniface, head of the force's professional standards department, said: "Sussex Police expects the highest personal and professional standards of anyone who works for us and any allegations of behaviour that do not meet those standards are rigorously investigated.

"On rare occasions, these investigations are of a criminal nature, leading to trials such as this and it is entirely right that they should. While the incident occurred while the officers were off-duty, both were suspended from their posts and we will now consider what disciplinary action they should face.

"It is important to show that the force has the ability to fairly investigate its own staff and this highlights our determination not to allow the name of Sussex Police to be tainted, nor bring into disrepute the enormous amount of good work carried out day-to-day by thousands of hard-working and enormously dedicated police officers and staff."