A MAN who bit his girlfriend on the jaw after spitting at her and threatening to kill her has been spared jail.

Josh Ben Eran Charles appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court yesterday for a string of offences against his former partner.

The court heard that he bit her twice outside of pubs in Darlington after an argument between the pair became violent.

John Garside, prosecuting, said: "The victim described the relationship as okay until his cocaine abuse got out of hand and he became abusive.

"He went to America for rehabilitation but returned to Darlington and ended up drinking alcohol and using cocaine again.

"On the evening of December 8 they were together at The Joseph Pease pub in Darlington when they started arguing, the defendant pushed her, she retaliated by hitting him on the head and he spat at her. She then described being hurled to the ground.

"The defendant has then bit her on her left hand resulting in her needing hospital treatment."

After the victim sent a message to Charles ending the relationship he replied telling her he "would murder her" before she had relations with another man, calling her "a dirty little s**g".

Mr Garside added that on December 27 the defendant was out in Darlington when he became angry and threw a drink before grabbing his ex-partner round the neck and again biting her, this time on the jaw.

He said: "The defendant shouted 'I'm going to kill you, I will stab you' before sending more messages threatening to kill her."

In a statement read out during the hearing, the victim described Charles as a protective and loving boyfriend until he had consumed alcohol.

She said: "He attempted to control my movements and who was in my company using his own insecurities as a reason for me not to do the things I enjoyed.

"This was amplified when he was in drink and drugs. The Josh I know and love and the one in drink are two entirely different people."

Charles, of Marina Road, Darlington, pleaded guilty to two charges of assault by beating, two counts of sending menacing messages and one of obstructing a police officer.

Darren Brown, mitigating, described the incidents as "unsavoury" and said the defendant had drastically reduced his alcohol intake since the incidents.

He said: "He has been through significant trauma in his life but he is seeking assistance for that. He fully accepts the relationship is over but he would like a friendship.

"He is not heavily convicted and the previous offence in 2011 was football related."

Colin Beadle, chairman of the bench, said: "Five offences against at least two victims, there were injuries, spitting, and we consider those to be aggravating features.

"You were abusive and made threats to kill and that must have been very frightening for the victim.

"We do feel that this has crossed the custody threshold."

Charles was sentenced to ten weeks in prison suspended for 12 months. He must also pay £85 costs and £150 compensation.