A MAN was beaten about the head with a rounders bat in his home when he answered the door to someone who had earlier threatened to kill him.

Gary Huggins left the menacing messages on his victim's phone after the pair were involved in a bloody skirmish at their local pub in Stockton.

Huggins also vowed to smash up his foe's home - but initially drunkenly targeted the house next door when he put a rock through a window.

The 28-year-old later returned to the correct property armed with a knife when he learned his girlfriend was there, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The householder picked up a rounders bat as he expected trouble, but he dropped it when Huggins swiped the knife across his cheek and chin.

Huggins picked up the bat, and struck the other man as many as 15 times as he cowered on the ground and begged him to stop the brutal attack.

Doctors put a dozen sutures on a 7cms wound on the left side of his scalp, and a further four on a 3cms cut on his left forehead, the court was told.

Huggins, of Piperknowle Road, Stockton, was jailed for six years after he pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

His lawyer Peter Wishlade told the court that he had psychiatric problems and was left in a coma last year when his girlfriend found him hanging.

Mr Wishlade said he had displayed worrying behaviour in the past, once hammering a nail into his knee and burning himself with cigarettes.

"He is a man with significant problems," the solicitor said. "His response on this particular occasion was totally unreasonable. He accepts that.

"He was significantly jealous . . . rightly or wrongly, he jumped to a conclusion, he went around there, and what happened happened."

The court heard how a report by a Probation Service official and one from a psychiatrist concluded Huggins posed a significant risk to the public.

Jailing him, the judge, Recorder Anil Murray told him the attack was "sustained" and the wounds he inflicted were "nasty".

He said: "It is clear you had had too much to drink . . . you were angry, you were jealous and you reacted in a way that took things too far."

Huggins also admitted charges of damaging property, having a bladed article and making threats to kill.