A MAN who tried to smother his wife in their bed could face life behind bars, he was warned today (Wednesday, March 19).

Martin Tudor's attack on his wife last September was the third grave domestic incident, a court heard.

Tudor attempted to throttle her eight years ago, and two years ago he "seriously" assaulted her.

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Teesside Crown Court heard how the burly 46-year-old "seems to have longstanding mental health problems".

Prosecutor Adrian Dent told Judge George Moorhouse: "There is a history of violence in the marriage."

Tudor was meant to be sentenced, but the judge wanted to know more about his background and risk.

Judge Moorhouse adjourned the case until May so a psychiatrist and probation officer can speak to Tudor.

Mr Dent said: "There is, in my submission, good reason to think this defendant is dangerous.

"Given the level of seriousness, the court ought to have an opinion from a consultant psychiatrist."

Mr Dent disagreed with an earlier assessment that the attack was lower on the scale than inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.

He told Judge Moorhouse that the maximum sentence was life, and said: "It looks to be little short of attempted murder."

Tudor is said to have shouted "die bastard, die" as he held the bedding over his wife's face on September 23.

Two days earlier, The Northern Echo understands, he threatened to smash a hammer into her skull.

Tudor, of Gunnergate Lane, Marton, near Middlesbrough, admitted the unusual charge of attempting to choke, strangle or suffocate.

His lawyer, Robert Mochrie, said Tudor had refused to speak to a probation officer for a pre-sentence report, but was now willing to.

Judge Moorhouse remanded him into custody at Holme House Prison, Stockton, and told him: "It's in your interests to co-operate."