Chesterfield thug threatened to kill woman during 'vicious and unprovoked' attack

Michael Nicholls.
Michael Nicholls.

A Chesterfield thug has been jailed after he threatened to kill a woman while repeatedly punching her.

Derby Crown Court heard how the victim had to climb out of a window and flag down a passer-by as she fled from Michael Nicholls, of Wikeley Way, Brimington.

The court was told the pair met in a pub and drank over a number of hours.

But later, when they were in his car, he attacked her after losing his temper as he could not find his mobile phone.

Now the 37-year-old, who has a number of previous convictions for attacking women, has been jailed for a year.

Judge Nirmal Shant QC said: "This was a vicious and unprovoked assault on a female.

"It was a sustained assault during which you threatened to kill her.

"You rained repeated punches on her and I have read her victim impact statement in which she says three weeks later she was still suffering with the physical effects.

"It was not just a nasty assault, it had a significant impact on her.

"You have a bad record for violence including at least three of which involved attacks on females."

Helen Marley, prosecuting, said the offence took place on February 16.

She said the victim had gone into a pub where she was supposed to be meeting some friends but they failed to turn up.

Ms Marley said she started talking with Nicholls and some of his friends and from there they were drinking together for the rest of the day at a number of different pubs.

She said later in the evening she and Nicholls were alone together in his car when he 'started to get angry because he couldn't find his phone'.

Ms Marley said: "He started swearing and shouting at her and grabbed her arm.

"He said to her 'if you try and get out of this car I will kill you'.

"She went for the door handle so he punched her hard to the left hand side of the head.

"She lost count of how many times she was hit and was unsure if she lost consciousness."

Ms Marley said Nicholls drove them back to his house where she stayed the night, escaping in the morning by climbing out of a window and getting help from a passer-by.

She said the victim suffered swelling, bruising and cuts to her face.

Nicholls was interviewed and gave a prepared statement in which he said he saw the victim fighting outside a pub with a gang of males and females.

But he later pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm during the incident, which happened in Brimington.

Ms Marley said he has 16 previous convictions for 39 offences including a number for violence.

Joe Harvey, for Nicholls, said: "He recognises his ability to get himself into trouble is heavily linked to his consumption of alcohol.

"What was otherwise a very pleasant afternoon very quickly turned into an appalling piece of offending as a consequence of his inability to control his temper when in drink.

"He and alcohol do not make good friends."