A MAN twice attacked his partner at the culmination of a “toxic” relationship, a court heard.

Following the second incident of domestic violence, John George Stephenson took an overdose, and, as he was being treated in hospital, told a doctor he intended to kill his partner.

Stephenson, 28, of Ravensworth Road, Ferryhill, was arrested and has remained in custody since then, appearing via video link from Durham Prison to the nearby crown court to answer for his crimes.

He was originally charged with common assault, assault by beating and making threats to kill, but the latter charge was replaced with a single count of affray, which he admitted at the start of the hearing.

Sam Faulks, prosecuting, said the couple were in a relationship for about a year-and-a-half, having a child together earlier this year.

But, Mr Faulks said the relationship, “became somewhat tempestuous during the pregnancy”, and the first act of violence on which Stephenson was charged took place towards the end of June.

Stephenson was said to have grabbed his partner’s throat in a throttling motion from behind, causing bruising to the neck and chin area.

As she began to walk away on breaking free, Stephenson aimed a kick at her backside, but his foot struck between her legs, causing some bleeding.

Mr Faulks said the woman screamed in agony, and she went on to phone her mother to inform her what had taken place.

The couple split up as a result, but the night after their break, Stephenson turned up at her home as she was letting the dogs out for a late-night walk.

He threatened to smash her over the head with a glass, repeatedly swearing at her and asking which of his “mates” she had been sleeping with, in return for drugs.

Stephenson also threatened to “stove” her head in with a lamp, before he left, and she quickly locked the door behind him as he left.

Mr Faulks told the court: “That was in the early hours of July 3, and it didn’t appear to be just a heat of the moment thing, as, he attended the a and e department at hospital in Durham, the same day, at 5pm, having taken an overdose of tablets.

“He was being checked by a doctor who asked if he had intended to kill himself and he said ‘yes’.”

But Mr Faulks said Stephenson told the doctor he also intended to kill his partner, repeating it when asked to clarify what he had said by the doctor.

He later denied assaulting his partner when interviewed by police, accusing her of infidelity.

Stephen Hamill, in mitigation, said, given the passage of time spent in custody since the incidents, the defendant now accepted his guilt.

“These offences were committed within a few days at the end of this toxic relationship, which is very much at its end.”

Recorder Ian Atherton imposed prison sentences of six months in total, but said Stephenson would have received a longer jail term had the offences been charged differently.

The recorder also put in place a ten-year restraining order forbidding him contacting her.