Drunk man repeatedly punched his girlfriend outside their Washington home

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A DRUNKEN thug who repeatedly punched his girlfriend in a terrifying attack has avoided a prison sentence.

Violent Neil Crook, 28, savagely attacked Kelly Mason – who he had been dating since the start of this year – after they arrived home together from a night out.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that Cook, of Bassenfell Court, Washington, and Miss Mason had downed eight pints each before deciding to get a taxi back.

John Brennan, prosecuting, said: “Arriving home in a taxi, Miss Mason is unable to recollect anything that happened, but her sister, who was babysitting at the house, heard swearing and shouting.

“A neighbour also heard commotion coming from outside and could see the couple on her CCTV cameras.

“She then went outside and shouted for the defendant to stop.

“He repeatedly has punched her in the stomach and the face.

“She fell to the ground, got up and went to talk to him, but he then punched her to the ground again.

“At this point the defendant left and Miss Mason’s sister came to help her.

“When he was interviewed by police he said he could not remember anything about it.

“He even claimed that his drink had been spiked.

“But when he was shown footage from the CCTV he said what he done was unacceptable.”

The court heard that Crook had a history of violence towards women, having been given a suspended sentence for attacking a partner in November 2010.

Thomas Moran, defending, said: “He appears to have got to a time in his life where he has had to accept the help that has been offered to him.”

He pleaded guilty at Newcastle Crown Court to causing actual bodily harm.

Judge Brian Forster said that Crook had clearly been a danger to women in the past.

But he praised the progress he had made in addressing his drinking and violence.

He said: “You need to make some major decisions in your life.

“You have taken advantage of a defenceless victim.

“You were in a relationship which was a valuable relationship at the time.

“There may have been some dispute between you on the night, but you lost all control and you repeatedly punched her.

“It is in your interests and the public’s interest that you have started to sort out your problems.”

Crook was given an eight-month sentence suspended for 18 months for the attack.

His suspended sentence from the previous conviction was also increased from 12 months to 15 months.

He was given a 10-year restraining order in relation to Miss Mason and was ordered to undertake a community domestic violence programme.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho