A jealous thug who left a man with a fractured skull for drinking with his partner has walked free - despite carrying out an almost identical attack years earlier.

James Tweddell took umbrage at seeing his partner and another woman in the company of Barry Graham and his brother-in-law in Bedlington, Northumberland.

A court heard Tweddell's partner introduced herself to Mr Martin using the pseudonym "Maxine" in The Grapes pub, Front Street, and he got the impression she was single.

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The two men then moved on to the Red Lion and the woman and her friend followed them.

John Crawford, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court that as they were walking along the street, Tweddell drove past in his Vauxhall Corsa and stopped ahead of them.

Mr Graham's brother-in-law recognised him as a local delivery driver.

Mr Crawford said: "There was a verbal confrontation between the defendant and and Mr Graham.

"Effectively he said 'what the f*** do you think you are doing with my partner'."

He punched him but caused no injury at that stage.

The court heard Tweddell reversed towards the two men and there was "some form of impact with them" as he left, although his not guilty plea to dangerous driving was accepted by prosecutors.

He drove off and the two men carried on with their night but later when they later came out of the pub they saw the Corsa pull up again.

Mr Crawford said: "The defendant got out and Mr Graham walked over to him to explain he got the wrong end of the stick earlier.

"After that, Mr Graham couldn't remember anything further and woke up in Cramlington Hospital with a large cut to his head."

He had a hairline fracture to his skull, a small bleed on his brain and needed ten stitches to his lip.

Mr Graham said in a victim impact statement: "This attack was unprovoked and left me with an injury which may never fully heal.

"It left me feeling uneasy about socialising in Bedlington.

"I'm lucky in some respects because it could have been fatal."

Tweddell, 44, of Park Road, Lynemouth, Northumberland, later accepted punching him, knocking him out, and pleaded guilty to inflicting GBH.

He was sentenced to 10 months suspended for 18 months with a three month curfew between 7pm and 5am and must pay £500 compensation. He was also given a restraining order not to contact Mr Graham and his partner.

The court heard that four months later, in August 2019, Mr Graham's partner got a message, sent by Tweddell, saying "do you know him" with a picture of Mr Graham leaning in towards his partner. It was unclear if it was taken on the night the offence happened or not.

The court heard Tweddell has 37 previous offences on his record and was convicted of a very similar GBH in 2005, also on Front Street, Bedlington, when he saw his partner with another man. He punched him, causing him to hit his head on the ground.

David Comb, defending, said his life has moved on since the attack and he is working towards a positive future and has a job.

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