A YOUNG mother was dragged by her hair and had her head smashed against a bannister during a terrifying drunken attack.

Mark Soutter, of Knowle Road, Woodley, stormed into his girlfriend's house in the early hours of September 9 and later caused criminal damage by kicking doors before threatening to kill an intervening neighbour.

Amber Baskerville, the victim of the assault, lost conciousness during the episode, but managed to send her five-year-old daughter away before he was seen dragging the mother on the street.

The 29-year-old, who was given a suspended sentence, was said to use alcohol as a 'crutch' after struggling to come to terms with the death of his mother.

Ms Baskerville said: "This was the first time he had been really violent and it terrified me, but it seemed to be out of character.

"He must have been on something or taken something. It did add to my fear on the day. He does have a drink problem but this had not led to violence in the past."

Lisa Stewart, mitigating at Reading Crown Court on November 10, said Soutter had taken rigorous steps to tackle his problem with alcohol and had written a letter of apology to the victims.

She added: "His remorse is deep and genuine. He has admitted to me, although he feels embarrassed, that her cries at night about what he has done.

"Both Mr Soutter and Ms Baskerville have indicated that the relationship may continue in the future, but he has decided to put some time and space between them."

Soutter narrowly avoided breaching a conditional discharge after assaulting a constable in February 2016.

Judge Ian Grainger concluded: "This must have been a deeply distressing incident, not just for Ms Baskerville, but also for the number of people who witnessed your disgraceful behaviour."

Soutter admitted to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, making threats to kill and causing criminal damage and was given a 15-month sentence, suspended for 18 months.

He must complete 100 hours of unpaid work, complete a rehabilitation requirement of 10 days and an activity requirement of 30 sessions.