A FORMER community worker who was nominated for “Cumbrian Man of the Year” after conquering his addictions twice attacked his former partner.

The victim feared she may be killed during the most serious assault at the hands of 46-year-old Cleator Moor man Alan Warburton, who told her he could kill her as he pinned her to a bed and throttled her for five seconds, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

He admitted an assault by beating, an actual bodily harm assault, and a fraud which involved him taking the woman’s debit card and withdrawing £50 for himself.

At Carlisle Crown Court, prosecutor Gerard Rogerson described what happened.

The first two offences – the less serious assault and the fraud – happened on January 10 when the defendant and the woman were together in Morecambe. Warburton appeared “agitated” when their dog had made a mess in its cage.

They argued also about other issues, and he left the house and she went to bed. He returned five or ten minutes later and went to the bedroom to retrieve his clothes from the wardrobe, at the same time verbally abusing the woman.

As he held her phone, she asked for it back, and he pushed her on the bed, pinning her down. He delivered one “hard punch” to her head. He also pressed her against a wardrobe, forcing her to the floor, after which she called the police and he left.

Though her head hurt, the woman said what happened did not affect her emotionally and she regarded Warburton as a good dad who had made a mistake.

“That little mistake turned into a bigger mistake on February 3,” said Mr Rogerson.

He outlined how the couple, despite splitting up, got back together for a trip in Workington, having booked a room in the town’s William Street Travelodge.

They got on well initially, though they had to extent their stay by one day because their return train to Morecambe was cancelled. On the evening of February 2, they drank together, with Warburton drinking Stella lager and Jagermeister shots.

They then returned to their room, and at 2am, after he had fallen asleep, the woman decided to have a bath. He woke, telling her: “Are your going to stop that? You’re making a racket.”

She stopped taking a bath but they argued.

During this, Warburton became verbally abusive and leaned over her on the bed, throttling her for five seconds and saying: “I could ******* kill you right now.”

In a statement, the woman said: “I was so scared, and I did think, in that moment, that he would kill me.”

She struggled for breath because he was squeezing her neck so hard. Afterwards, she felt dizzy and he left the room. The woman then went to the hotel reception desk and asked for a new key-card so he could not return.

The defendant’s record comprises 105 previous offences.

His previous violence was “historic,” dating back to the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Charles Brown, defending, said within Warburton’s relationship with the victim violence was out of character. When he had beaten his addictions, Warburton was proud of his achievements.

During his pre-hearing conference with the defendant, said Mr Brown, the defendant’s first words were: “I’ve been 43 days sober.”

He rehabilitated previously to the point where he became a homelessness officer and he had helped revive a young woman who overdosed. Following that experience, he gave up his job and started drinking again.

Recorder Julian Shaw said it was ridiculous that Warburton, of Keir Hardie Avenue, Cleator Moor, last year “experimented with crack cocaine and heroin” - behaviour more typical of a younger man, not a 46-year-old who was “got clean” and could look back on a life that had been blighted by addiction.

During the second more serious assault, said Recorder Shaw, the victim was terrified, so much so that she sought the help of Travelodge staff.

“It’s depressing,” observed the judge. “It’s made all the more depressing by the realisation that you can be a different person.

“You can retain sobriety; you can avoid taking illicit drugs and when you do, there is the person that you rightly described to the probation officer as someone you were proud of, highlighted by your efforts to help homeless people; highlighted by your efforts to remain drug free; and highlighted by you being nominated for the award of Cumbrian Man of the Year.

“Such were your achievements.”

Noting that the defendant had served three months on remand, and had time to reflect, the judge suspended the 18-month jail term he imposed for two years.

The sentence includes 30 days of rehabilitation activity, a three-month alcohol treatment programme and a Building Better Relationships Course.

The judge added: “Lay your hands on another woman and you will go to prison for increasingly lengthy periods of time.”