A MAN who carried out a sustained attack on a female friend with whom he had been in a recent relationship was jailed for 16 months.

Lee Adams knew the woman for 25 years, but they had a more intimate relationship for a few weeks ending on October 15, when they agreed just to remain friends.

Durham Crown Court was told two days later they were out, “in town”, with friends, before going to a mutual acquaintance’s home, where Adams became verbally abusive to the woman.

She left the house, but Adams ran after her, and, on catching up with her, he ripped an ear ring from her right ear lobe.

Rachel Butt, prosecuting said the victim fell to the floor, where Adams slapped her about the face.

He told her to follow him home, continuing to shout abuse and hitting her across the face on the way.

When they got there he punched and kicked her, before she lost consciousness.

On coming around she felt blood coming from a bite mark to the top of her ear, so Adams dragged her to the bathroom to wash the injury.

He then banged her head off the bathroom wall four to five times.

Miss Butt said Adams dragged her down the stairs and into the street, where he punched her several times, only stopping when a neighbour came out to investigate.

She broke free and ran to a friend’s home and the police were called.

When officers got to her friend’s home, at 2.40am, she was found bloodied and bruised to her face, hands and clothing, with two cuts to her right ear.

She was taken to hospital, where doctors told her she may require plastic surgery.

Police went to Adams’ home, where he was arrested, and officers found blood marks in various place round the house as well as on his hands and clothing.

Miss Butt said Adams , who appeared inebriated, told the officers: “She attacked me first.”

In her impact statement the victim, who was left with a bruised and swollen face, said she thought she was going to be killed by Adams and, in the aftermath, was frightened to leave her home.

The 45-year-old defendant, of Ford Terrace, Chilton, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.

Ian West, mitigating, said while he could not dispute that it was a sustained attack, the injuries were not as bad as in some actual bodily harm cases.

Judge Ray Singh said Adams’ violence to his victim was over a sustained period and only came to an end when a neighbour intervened.

He added that he has, “a bad record”, and his only “saving grace” was his guilty plea.

Jailing him, the judge also made a restraining order prohibiting Adams from contacting or approaching his victim for five years.