A former soldier who subjected his partner to an 'appalling' attack during which he drop-kicked her in the head was saved from prison by her plea that he gets help.

Martin Miller subjected the woman to a terrifying ordeal during which he grabbed her round the neck, slapped her and dragged her back when she tried to flee.

She was left covered in blood and dazed after he suddenly turned from feeling sad to violent.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the couple had been in an on-off relationship and Miller had been struggling with drink, drugs and mental health issues.

In the early hours of Tuesday, May 11 he headed to her home and when he arrived he looked "sad and done in" and she felt sorry for him and gave him a cuddle.

He apologised for keeping her awake when she had to go to work the next morning but after going into the garden for a cigarette, his demeanour changed.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said: "He asked her who smoked rollies and she didn't understand what he meant.

"He demanded to look through her mobile phone. He then took her mobile phone and started to look through it.

"She tried to take it back but was not initially able to do so."

When they went downstairs, Miller's behaviour became worse.

"He became more aggressive and jealous," Mr Pallister said.

"He pushed her back with one hand so she couldn't take her mobile phone and he threatened to punch her if he found anything on her phone.

"He grabbed her by the neck with both hands, forcing her back onto the stairs. She could just about breathe but had to turn on her side to be able to fully breathe."

Miller then slapped her forcibly several times.

She tried to run to the front door but as she got it ajar, he came up behind her and slammed it shut, locked it and dragged her back inside.

He started questioning whether she had kissed an old friend and she said no.

Miller then slapped her again and she tried to protect her face as she knelt on the floor.

Having given her the phone back, she tried to text her neighbour but he snatched it back.

Mr Pallister said: "She was able to run back downstairs to her front office and climbed out and got on the window ledge.

"She was almost half out and screaming for someone to help when the defendant grabbed her by her top and body, dragged her back inside and threw her on the floor.

"He then drop-kicked her to the head, which made her feel dizzy and confused and she felt blood pouring from her forehead."

After he eventually fled, the victim, who was covered in blood, climbed out of her office window and ran to her neighbour's home for help.

She had a deep laceration to her eyebrow, a bump to her temple and a grab mark on her arm.

Despite her ordeal, she called for Miller to get professional help in her victim impact statement.

Newcastle Crown Court

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Miller, 30, of Sherbourne Avenue, North Shields, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and theft of her mobile phone.

He was sentenced to 12 months suspended for 18 months with 100 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Penny Moreland told him: "You subjected her to an appalling attack.

"Her concern was to say she wanted you to get help and support and continue your relationship with your daughter.

"That's an extraordinarily generous and kind approach for her to take.

"She had faith you can be rehabilitated and I take that approach too."

The judge said the woman had shown a "remarkably generous spirit" in calling for him to receive help.

Richard Herrmann, defending, said Miller had done ten years of military service and colleagues of his had died and been maimed in action.

He added that Miller had struggled with severe mental health problems.