A ROW over £3 sparked an outbreak of sustained domestic violence, a court heard.

Robert Geoffrey Dixon, 32, was jailed for 18 months for what a judge described as, “a significant repeated assault”, on his “vulnerable” ex-partner.

Durham Crown Court heard that their relationship was over at the time of the incident in July last year, when the woman was briefly staying with him after losing her accommodation.

Louise Harrison, prosecuting, said Dixon became angry after the woman was said to have taken £3 from a mantelpiece, and he struck her in the mouth with the back of his hand, causing her lip to bleed profusely.

She asked to be taken to hospital, but while in the car he leaned across from the driving seat to repeatedly punch her in the face and body, then he pushed her face into the passenger side window so forcibly that she feared it would smash and force her head out of the car.

Instead of taking her to hospital, Dixon made for a relative’s home, in Sacriston, where she tried to escape and seek sanctuary in a fast food takeaway, but confused staff refused to call police.

Dixon found her and took her to the relative’s home as he did not want the police to see her injuries.

She was able to finally go to hospital four days later where she was treated for significant bruising to her head, chest and jaw.

Dixon, of Fourth Street, Quaking Houses, near Stanley, denied assault causing actual bodily harm, but was convicted following a trial.

Kieran Rainey, mitigating, said at the time Dixon is waiting to start and is undergoing counselling to deal with bouts of depression he has suffered at times.

But Judge Christopher Prince told him: “It’s evident she was subject to a long and frightening attack at your hands, and she says she is constantly in fear of you.”

He made Dixon subject of a restraining order preventing him contacting the victim.