A DRUNKEN row gout out of hand as a man who had been abusive to a teenage girl turned violent and struck her with a drawer, a court heard.

James Macdonald Brown had gone to visit the girl’s mother who was in the process of moving house that day, Saturday March 14 this year.

Durham Crown Court was told that all parties had been drinking during the course of the day.

Ian West, prosecuting, said as more drink was consumed Brown became abusive to the teenager, calling her, “a fat c**t”, telling her he hoped she would die and being generally, “horrible and unpleasant” to her.

Mr West said at one stage Brown thrust a cigarette lighter in front of her, telling her he would “burn her face off”, and then threatened to scald her with the kettle.

Her mother had to be helped to bed as she was worse the wear for drink and Brown went upstairs and began shouting at the girl, picking up her birth certificate and screwing it up, telling her she wouldn’t be needing it anymore.

Brown then spat at the girl and punched her twice to the face.

She tried to ring for the police and Brown grabbed her hand, telling her to watch what he could do to her and to the police.

He also pushed her mother off the bed she had been placed on and kicked the girl several times.

Mr West said when she fell to the floor Brown tried to prevent her from getting up and then tried to stop her getting up off the floor.

“At this point he pulled out a drawer and hit her twice with it, once to the side of the face and once to her hands, causing a bleeding injury.”

This caused her to black out and when she was spoken to later, by police, she complained of temporarily being unable to see out of her left eye, where she had been hit with the drawer.

Brown had by then left, but the girl spoke to police officers wearing body-worn cameras.

Although she and her mother later refused to assist the prosecution, the camera footage was sufficient for the Crown to proceed on a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm against Brown.

The 44-year-old defendant, of Alfred Street, Seaham, admitted the charge, but only on the day he was to stand trial, last month.

His 30 previous convictions include offences of violence, but none in recent years.

Judge James Adkin told defence counsel Steven Reed he was just able to step back from an immediate prison sentence.

Imposing nine-month sentence, suspended for two years, he told Brown: “Clearly all were drinking that day and it was a fairly chaotic scene.

“You have had mental health and drink problems which have bedevilled you for many years.

“But you have been out of trouble for some time and are now on a more even keel in the community.”

As part of the sentence Brown must also complete 30 rehabilitation activity days overseen by the Probation Service.