A MAN turned up at his ex-partner’s home, against her wishes, sinisterly accompanied in the early hours by a second person, wearing a balaclava.

Louis Wells was asked to leave by his estranged partner two weeks earlier, bringing an end to an 11-year relationship, but he refused her subsequent requests to return his set of house keys.

Durham Crown Court heard that shortly before 1am on March 28 he phoned her and asked where she was.

Once she told him she was at home he put the phone down, but ten minutes later he entered her home using his keys, accompanied by the balaclava-clad figure.

Wells approached his former partner and strangled her, before releasing his grip and punching her several times.

Matthew Hopkins, prosecuting, said although she tried to get away, Wells pinned her back down, as he again grabbed her tightly round the neck, making her struggle to breathe.

He went on to throw her around the room, punching and verbally abusing her, asking her if she had been with other men.

Wells continued the assault, punching and choking the woman, for about five minutes before the man wearing the balaclava persuaded him to leave.

When that appeared to be the case, the victim rang the police to report the attack, and was hit in the face as a parting shot, by Wells.

Officers arrived within minutes and when she explained the situation, they changed her locks to offer some protection.

But, several hours later, the woman awoke to find Wells sitting at the bottom of her bed, crying, telling her he loved her and asking why she was, "doing this to him".

It emerged that despite the lock change he had kicked the door in to gain access to her Horden home.

Fearing he may turn violent once more, she again rang the police.

Mr Hopkins said Wells was later arrested and was taken to hospital due to his own medical issues but became aggressive towards a nurse.

An officer intervened to protect the nurse, but was head butted by Wells.

He had to be restrained but continued shouting abusively.

His victim, who suspected she may have suffered a broken finger among various other injuries suffered in the earlier ordeal, told police she was “disgusted” at Wells’ behaviour, adding that she would never forgive him.

The court heard 33-year-old Wells has 27 convictions for 59 offences, including past domestic assaults.

Wells, now of no fixed address, who has ben in custody since his arrest, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm, assaulting an emergency worker and criminal damage.

Read more: Durham Crown Court: ‘Thug' bullied and controlled former partner

Jennifer Coxon, in mitigation, said it was clear that the defendant was struggling with his own mental health issues by the time of the incident.

The loss of his once stable relationship came at a time when his car broke down, he lost his job and he was struggling with his mental health, having remained out of trouble for some time.

Miss Coxon said Wells understands his ex-partner has now left the area and moved to a new address, of which he is unfamiliar.

Judge Ray Singh said having read a Probation Service background report, it appears Wells has tried to “minimise” his role in the violence to his ex-partner.

He said turning up with a masked accomplice out of the blue at night must have left his estranged partner, “absolutely petrified”.

Judge Singh told Wells: “I’m afraid individuals like you feel it’s appropriate to assault female partners and then minimise your actions.

“The assault was a persistent, repeated attack on her, in her own home and had a significant impact.”

He imposed a 20-month prison sentence and made Wells subject of a ten-year restraining order, forbidding him from contacting or approaching his former partner.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054