THE life of a once-successful businessman has reached such a low he would rather be in prison to sort out his problems, a court heard.

Simon McGovern's barrister told a judge that the 35-year-old “welcomes the opportunity” to spend some time behind bars.

Earlier this year, McGovern was given a suspended prison sentence for attacking a man with a spanner in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

Teesside Crown Court heard that he had barely engaged with the Probation Service and had done little of his 150 hours of community work.

Robin Turton, mitigating, said: “He accepts that he has blown his chance, but in a sense he welcomes custody to rebuild his life.

“He has struggled in the community with the assistance available to him and welcomes the opportunity to have the intensive support prison is able to afford.

“His life rather fell apart in front of him. His business failed, his marriage failed. It does take some time for those people who have suffered the slings and arrows of misfortune.”

On McGovern's last appearance in court, Judge Peter Bowers was told that he had also suffered a badly broken leg which resulted in depression.

Just months after his let-off, on November 14, he stole a t-shirt and a pair of jeans from a clothing shop in Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire.

When he was challenged by a worker outside, McGovern told her to “f*** off” and fled shouting: “Catch me if you can.”

Sam Faulks, prosecuting, said two off-duty police officers chased the thief – and one of them was assaulted as he tried to detain him.

McGovern, of Frenchgate, Richmond, was jailed for a total of 11 months after he admitted theft and assaulting a police officer.

Judge Bowers told him: “I hope you can sort your life out when you come out.”