A WOMAN fled her violent husband to live in a refuge after several drunken attacks, a court heard.

The 35-year-old Romanian woman only gave a true account of how she suffered several fractures to her vertebrae after specialists at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary confirmed there was a 40 per cent chance of her suffering permanent chronic back pain, last October.

Durham Crown Court heard she previously accounted for a fall down the stairs at her home in Ushaw Moor, in March, by claiming her pet dog jumped up at her.

But, after intervening attacks, and the hospital specialists’ prognosis, she came clean and confirmed she was pushed down the stairs by her husband, Keith Brown, in one of his drunken rages.

Sam Faulks, prosecuting, said due to the physical abuse she suffered, she finally decided to make a complaint to police about his behaviour and to leave him to go to live in a women’s refuge.

Mr Faulks said Brown had two previous police cautions from early in their relationship, in 2013, but they had since married and her formal papers came through enabling her to work legally in a Durham restaurant.

Due to the back injuries suffered when she was pushed down the stairs, she was in such pain that she was off sick for nine months from the job she loved as a chef.

Mr Faulks said she eventually quit the job and took up cleaning as she was allowed to take more pain relief breaks, but the resulting pay cut caused her, “a massive financial impact”.

In other attacks last year, apart from being pushed down the stairs, she was held firmly by the throat and bitten on the neck, she was pushed onto the floor and punched several times, and she was struck about the head with a metal dog chain.

Mr Faulks said in a further incident Brown threatened her with a kitchen knife and she fled outside for half-an-hour until he calmed down.

The 44-year-old defendant, of Arthur Street, Ushaw Moor, who has no previous convictions, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm, plus three counts of common assault.

Chris Morrison, mitigating, said the car valeter and driver had suffered mental health issues, including depression, for which he turned to drink as an antidote.

But Mr Morrison said he now felt “abject shame” and remorse over his behaviour with his now estranged wife.

Jailing him for 20 months, Judge Christopher Prince questioned the sincerity of Brown’s remorse, given the apparent “victim blaming” and “deflecting responsibility” in his pre-sentence report, based on a recent interview with a probation officer.