A MAN who attacked his girlfriend in bed, later broke into her house, breaking her Christmas tree in half and stealing presents he had bought for her.

Kenneth McGregor, from West Auckland in County Durham, has been jailed after admitting a string of offences, including assault, burglary, sending an abusive message, taking a car without consent, driving without insurance and a licence and failing to stop after an accident.

Durham Crown Court heard that the 28-year-old had been “obsessed” with the woman, who he had been in a relationship for around seven weeks before he assaulted her following a fight.

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The couple started arguing after he accused another man of staring at her while they were out drinking together on October 29.

Penny Bottomley, prosecuting, said McGregor punched her around the head five times before going to the kitchen, coming back with a knife which he said he going to slit his wrists with.

After she took the knife away from him, he slammed her against a wall and strangled her until her ‘knees went wobbly’, the court heard.

The following month he sent her threatening and abusive messages, including one calling her a “grass” because she said she going to tell police.

On November 24 he took his mother’s car to drive to her home, where he broke in, damaging the door, breaking her Christmas tree in half, pouring bleach all over the kitchen and taking some jewellery he had bought as a present.

On the way home he crashed the car into the back of another vehicle, leaving the scene before giving his details. He was later arrested at his mother’s house.

Simon Perkins, mitigating, said a letter had been sent to the court which showed a “compassionate and loving” side to the defendant.

He said: “There are two sides to this story in respect of the assault.

“It’s fair to say it happened when both parties were intoxicated.”

He added: “The burglary is an atypical one. It’s not a burglary for gain. It’s part of an up and down relationship. At its worst its spiteful but it’s not a stereotypical Christmas burglary.

Recorder David Gordon sentenced him to 14 months in prison and disqualified him from driving for 12 months following his release.

He said: “You might not think it looking at your record but clearly there is a more tender side to your character.”