Sunderland brute attacked ex-partner in her own home
A brute who attacked his ex-partner in her own home before holding a knife to her neck has avoided jail.
Ross Smith had not long come out of a four-and-a-half year relationship with the woman when he launched the assault on October 25 last year.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that the 22-year-old also pushed and slapped the woman's friend who tried to intervene.
He then left the address and turned up at his ex's father's home, where he became involved in a struggle and threatened to kill his dog.
Prosecutor Jane Foley said that Smith returned to the woman's home in Sunderland in the early hours after previously being asked to leave.
Ms Foley said: "He returned about half an hour later and entered her home without her permission and began helping himself to food from her fridge.
"She repeatedly asked him to leave but the defendant refused and sat down on her sofa and asked if she wanted a cigarette.
"It was then the defendant lost control and began to shout and scream at her.
"He grabbed her by her hair and began to strangle her by placing both hands around her neck."
After releasing his grip and telling his victim "you're dead, you're dead", Smith dragged her across the living room floor before throwing her to the ground.
It was at this point she noticed a small folding knife which he pulled out and held it up against her neck.
The court heard the woman's friend then tried to intervene by pushing Smith away, but she was also assaulted.
His ex managed to eventually escape but Smith then took it upon himself to go to her nearby father's house at 5.30am where another altercation took place during which the father's dog bit Smith on the leg.
Ms Foley added: "The defendant continued to remonstrate with him and made further threats to return with a gun.
"He told him his daughter had been calling him a grass."
In a victim personal statement, the ex-partner said that the whole incident had left her feeling scared and physically sore.
She added: "I can confirm Ross was responsible for all of the hurt he caused me. I'm shocked it came to this.
"I was really scared and I really believed Ross would stab me."
Smith, of Blaydon Avenue, Town End Farm in Sunderland, pleaded guilty to three counts of assault by beating and one count of threatening with a bladed article.
James Howard, mitigating, said that Smith was turning his life around after securing a new job and hadn't made efforts to contact the woman since the incident whilst on bail and an electronic tag.
He added: "He tells me the relationship is well and truly behind him."
Mr Recorder Andrew Haslam told him: "Offences that involve the possession of knives and bladed articles are always taken seriously by this court and always, in my judgment, pass the custodial threshold."
However, the judge agreed with Mr Howard's suggestion that any sentence of imprisonment could be suspended as he had shown evidence of rehabilitation since the offending.
He added: "So I'm going to take a chance with you. I'm going to impose a suspended sentence of imprisonment upon you.
"You return back to your old ways Mr Smith and you will be going through that door and not the other door."
Smith was given six months suspended for a year with 30 days rehabilitation requirements and 150 hours of unpaid work.
He was also made subject to a restraining order against the victims for an indefinite period.