A JEALOUS man who punched his ex-partner in the face and threatened to stab his love rival has avoided an immediate prison sentence.

David Love turned up at his former partner's home and attacked her in January last year after she started a new relationship.

The 34-year-old also punched his rival in the face before grabbing a knife and threatening the man with it.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Love had been separated from his partner for around 18-months when he launched the violent attack.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said the 13-year relationship had ended due to the defendant's increasingly violent behaviour.

He said Love threatened to 'stick a knife' in the throat of her new partner saying 'he doesn't scare me' while she was on the phone to her partner who could hear the threat.

"The defendant took hold of her, put her in a choke hold and punched her to the eye," he said. "She went to the floor causing damage to her hip and causing her to feel light-headed. As she went to the floor she thought he kneed her to the back."

Mr Sabiston said her new partner arrived at the house and witnessed Love 'ragging' the woman about.

The defendant then approached the man and punched him to the face before being restrained by the victim and his brother-in-law.

After they released he went and grabbed a knife and threatened to 'kill' the man before threatening to smash up is car.

Love, of Knole Road, Billingham, pleaded guilty to affray, two charges of common assault and threatening to cause criminal damage.

Paul Abrahams, in mitigation, said his client was 'clearly in drink' at the time of the incident.

Recorder Sam Green QC sentenced Love to 16-months in custody, suspended for two years.

He added: "I'm not prepared to punish your kids by sending you to prison thereby creating a situation where you can't provide for them, you are clearly a hard working man."

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