AN increasingly turbulent, abusive relationship ended with a drug-fuelled stand-off with police outside a couple’s home, a court heard.

Gary Mackinlay, who had taken heroin and crack cocaine, threatened to stab his partner as police, alerted by neighbours to reports of shouting, banging and screams, arrived at the property in Newton Aycliffe, in the early hours of October 21.

Durham Crown Court was told Mackinlay, who damaged property and struck his now ex-partner, put her in a headlock and held her on the floor when she tried to escape.

When officers reached the property, in Booth Walk, there was initially no response but when two people were seen upstairs, police asked them to come outside.

Mackinlay, who had a needle in his hand, refused and told police his partner was, “not allowed to leave” as she, “had to stay in”.

Rupert Doswell, prosecuting, said Mackinlay then picked up a knife and shouted abusively from the window, threatening to let his American bull dogs out.

He said he was going to inject himself and would not open the door, but the officers could hear his partner screaming and something being thrown.

Mackinlay made threats that he would shoot one officer with a pistol.

Mr Doswell said when Mackinlay eventually agreed they would come out, police went in and he was arrested.

The defendant, 24, admitted controlling or coercive behaviour within a relationship, damaging property, affray and battery.

Martin Towers, in mitigation, said Mackinlay, who has never previously been behind bars, has spent the last four months in custody, during which he has recovered from his addiction and aims to remain drug-free upon release.

Mr Towers said the four-year relationship was “dominated by drug abuse”, particularly over the last two years.

But he said the defendant accepts heroin, in particular, “ruined his life” and he aims to go drug free upon release.

Recorder Jamie Hill said Mackinlay’s behaviour when police were called that night was, “both frightening and outrageous, in equal measure, no doubt under the influence of drink and drugs.”

He imposed a one-year prison sentence, but given the time spent in custody, Mackinlay may only have a few weeks remaining prior to his release, on licence.