A VIOLENT man who left his former partner too terrified to sleep on her own has been jailed for a sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment.

During his five-month reign of terror, Andrew Lee, wrote an 'obscene' email to a university lecturer of his ex-partner as well as randomly turning up at her home and threatening to rape her boyfriend – who didn't exist.

The 29-year-old, who has a young child with his victim, had previously been jailed for smashing up her home, when she was forced to hide in her child's bedroom, and was arrested in Benidorm after punching her in the face.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the victim had broken up with Lee on several occasions but she tried to maintain a civil relationship with him for the benefit of their child.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said Lee's personality changed when he was drinking and taking drugs, often resulting in him 'hitting her or punching her' and he would regularly take her mobile phone off her to read her messages.

She told the court how the victim felt let down by the police who she said didn't take her complaints seriously and often just gave Lee a 'lift home' when he was drunkenly abusing her.

The court heard Lee was jailed for 16 months in 2017 after breaking into her home and terrorising her.

His latest campaign of harassment started to catch up with him in November when she got back home and he jumped out of some nearby bushes and he wrote the 'filthy' email to her lecturer.

Miss Haigh said Lee had previously been convicted of harassing two strangers in Middlesbrough town centre when he attempted to kiss one woman and grabbing another woman as she walked home from work.

For those offences he was given a suspended sentence by magistrates, she added.

Lee, of Bolton Court, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to one charge of stalking with the intent to cause fear, alarm or harassment from June 14 until November 9 last year.

Paul Abrahams, mitigating, said Lee was now tackling his drink and drug problem and hoped to rebuild relationships with his child.

He said: "How the defendant has conducted himself in the last few years, I will use the his own words, has been disgusting behaviour and the distress it has caused has been awful."

Judge Stephen Ashurst sentenced Lee to two years in prison for stalking and issued him with a seven-year restraining order.

He said: "This is a woman who can't sleep at night and has to have her own child in her bed with her because he had broken into her home in the past and is scared that he would do it again and turn up in the early hours of the morning, and she has goods reason for that."

The judge added: "If you are not ashamed about the details that have been read out in court in front of your parents, you should be."