AN angry man who stabbed his victim in the back after he tried to stop him attacking his girlfriend has been jailed for six years.

Paul McArthur grabbed his partner by the hair before dragging her into his Darlington flat and assaulting her after he heard her call him a '****head'.

The 39-year-old then let her out of the flat before punching her in face while bystanders tried to intervene.

Robin Turton, prosecuting, said when McArthur was inside the house the people his girlfriend had been speaking to were banging on the door telling him to leave her alone.

He said: "The defendant appeared and punched her in the face, she immediately started to bleed and one of the witnesses said she would never forget the sound it made."

The Northern Echo: Paul McArthurPaul McArthur

A man passing by the incident at around 4am in the morning tried to intervene and had his mobile phone knocked out of his hand by McArthur as he thought he was being filmed.

Mr Turton added: "Shortly after the defendant returned to the flat and returned with a 12-14cm kitchen knife. He moved towards one man, who ran away, then ran at the other man.

"CCTV footage captures the defendant chasing the victim around the corner of Otley Street into Alliance Street, he is caught by the defendant who pulls on his shirt and with one movement swings his right arm containing the knife, at him, stabbing him in the lower right back."

The court heard how the victim suffered a stab wound which required hospital treatment after he collapsed in the street.

McArthur, of Otley Terrace, Darlington, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent, possession of a bladed article, assault by beating and criminal damage following the incident on May 31.

John Turner, in mitigation, said: "I would ask you to take the view that the offence, while very unpleasant, the injuries are not that serious in the context of a section 18 offence.

"It is a case where there was one blow, so it was not a sustained or repeated assault."

Mr Turner said although his client fled at the scene initially he did voluntarily hand himself into custody without knowing the level of injury he had caused.

Recorder Simon Kealey QC jailed McArthur for six years.

He said: "At one point she called you a ****head and this appears to be the trigger for the violence that then ensued.

"You pulled her inside the flat by the hair and there was the noise of a disturbance taking place."