A MAN who drunkenly attacked a woman and then drove his car at her terrified family as they attempted to flee has been jailed for 16 months.

Shaun Gordon Winter, of Surtees Street, Darlington, grabbed the victim by the throat and punched her, while shouting: “Die bitch”.

The 30-year-old, who kicked a door off its hinges to gain entry to the woman’s home, was described by a neighbour as being in a “full mental rage”.

Prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, Sue Jacobs, read from witness statements which described Winter strangling the victim.

Ms Jacobs said that while Winter was distracted the woman and her family ran off, but the defendant then got into his car and drove after them, mounting a kerb as he did so.

He was arrested and later admitted a series of charges relating to the incident which began just before midnight on June 30 this year.

Winter, who has previous convictions for grievous bodily harm and drink driving, pleaded guilty to four counts of common assault, criminal damage, using violence to gain entry to a property, driving with excess alcohol and dangerous driving.

Ms Jacobs applied for a restraining order on behalf of the victim, which was granted by Judge Peter Armstrong.

She also read a statement in which the woman said she was having a "recurring nightmare" since the attack and was considering moving home because she no longer feels safe.

Stephen Andrews, mitigating, said Winter apologised unreservedly and was ashamed of his actions.

He described Winter as feeling helplessly out of control and said drink had affected his judgement.

Judge Armstrong said it had been an appalling episode with the dangerous driving the most serious aspect.

He said: “It is only good luck that [no-one] was knocked down or even killed.”

The judge gave Winter a 16 month jail sentence, saying there were no good grounds to suspend it. He was also disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for three years.