A TOPLESS man wrote ‘love’ on a car windscreen in blood during an aggressive outburst outside the home of his former in-laws in County Durham.

Nathan Appleby, 31, told police officers he had been in a low mood before driving to the home on Derwent Close, in Seaham, occupied by the householder, his wife and daughter.

Durham Crown Court yesterday heard the defendant was armed with a knife when he became aggressive - banging on the house windows and the householder’s car - shortly after 11pm.

Shaun Dryden. prosecuting said: “He was shouting threats to the family saying ‘I will come in and kill you all’. The defendant appears to have not been wearing a top at the time and was heavily bloodstained.”

The court heard a neighbour was parking at her property at the time when she noticed a vehicle was in the road with its engine running and lights on.

Mr Dryden said she heard screaming and saw the defendant, covered in blood, who was saying “die you poisonous family, I will die for my family heaven and hell”.

Judge Jonathan Carroll heard Appleby, of Dinsdale Street, Sunderland, then called the householder to come outside before running to the victim’s car, throwing himself on the windscreen and jumping up and down on the roof.

The court heard he then appeared to write the word ‘love’ on the windscreen with his blood.

Mr Dryden said he also tried and failed to get into the neighbour’s vehicle before the police arrived who he was abusive to.

The defendant had a number of self-inflicted injuries including cuts to the face, back, head and several across his throat.

He was taken to hospital for assessment and was released shortly after.

In interview he made a number of admissions including that there was a relationship between him and the family.

He told officers the family “had not told him when his child had been born”.

Appleby denied making threats to kill and said he had no intention of harming anyone other than himself.

Mr Dryden said the defendant, who is “highly convicted” had been married and divorced to the daughter of the householder.

He added the family was “traumatised and terrified” by the ordeal on November 16 and had since left the house and area.

Appleby previously pleaded guilty to affray, possessing a bladed article and criminal damage under £5,000.

However, he denies an allegation by the prosecution that he entered the house with a knife before events took place outside.

Judge Carroll said: “There needs to be a hearing to determine whether or not factually you entered the house with a knife because that makes a materialistic difference to the starting point of the sentence.”

A date is yet to be set for a Newton hearing. He was released on conditional bail and subject to an interim restraining order banning him from contacting prosecution witnesses.