AN estranged dad who was banned from going near his former partner was found drunk and asleep in her bed, a court heard yesterday (Monday, January 6).

Brian McLay struggled with his ex-girlfriend when she woke him from his stupor, "caught" her in the face, then held a knife towards her.

The incident at her Middlesbrough home in November put McLay in breach of a restraining order - for the second time in seven months.

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In April last year, the 42-year-old went to the woman's home and shouted abuse through her letterbox, Teesside Crown Court was told.

He also spat through the letterbox after yelling: "You dirty tramp . . . The kids are going to get taken off you, I'll make sure of it."

Prosecutor Rachel Masters told the court that he continued: "Yeah, I'm Brian McLay. I want to go back to jail. I'll wait for the police."

Peter Wishlade, mitigating, said the heroin-addicted alcoholic had "no recollection at all" of going to the house on November 16.

"It can't be very pleasant for someone to return home to find someone who is the subject of a restraining order in their bed," said Mr Wishlade.

"To his credit, he did leave the house. He has no recollection of going there, gaining entry or getting into the bed, which gives an indication of the extent of the problem he has.

"It is not without significance that on his record he has no offences of violence. Essentially, he is not a violent man.

"Indeed, he is articulate and very pleasant in a situation where he is not drunk and not taking drugs.

"He understands it is necessary to adopt the correct procedure to access or contact his children, and his behaviour, he accepts, was reprehensible."

McLay, of Coltman Street, Middlesbrough, admitted breaching the restraining order, and was given a six-month suspended sentence.

He was also ordered to undergo supervision for two years, seek help for his alcoholism and take part in a Building Better Relationships course.

Judge Peter Armstrong told him: "Whether you have come to terms with the breakdown of that relationship or not you need assistance.

"Clearly, it is over and you need to accept that."