A MAN who threatened to kill his partner has narrowly avoided being sent to prison.

Wayne McQuen verbally abused his partner of nine years in an early morning heated argument in June.

Police were called to the address and McQuen was arrested and while in custody he told officers 'just see what happens when I'm bailed', just wait' and later said 'tell her to go to a refuge because I'm going to kill her when I get out'.

Vicki Lamballe, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court that the mother-of-five later withdrew her evidence claiming she had over-exaggerated what happened.

She said the defendant had a history of domestic violence against his victim and had been convicted after targeting a former partner.

Michele Turner, mitigating, said the couple were back together and were expecting their fourth child together and the previous incidents were a number of years ago.

She said: "The reality is the parties have remained in a relationship of sorts, it's not one that has remained without issues but there has been no violence in that time."

The 36-year-old, of Eltham Crescent, Thornaby, who appeared in court on crutches, pleaded guilty to a charge of making threats to kill.

Recorder Darren Preston sentenced McQuen to 12 months in prison suspended for 12 months.

He said: “Some people think that domestic violence is less serious than violence on the streets but it is worse.

“It is insidious because it makes the victim scared in their own home; they can’t say or do anything or do anything without fear. This makes it worse than street violence.

“I take the view that just, only just, that the sentence can be suspended for the next 12 months and this will be hanging over you for the next 12 months.”