A THUG punched his ex-partner three times in the face while she was holding their child and trying to flee the attack.

Mark Griffiths, of Meteor Road, Westcliff targeted the mother in a paranoid rage at her home.

The 43-year-old avoided a jail sentence during a hearing at Basildon Crown Court where Recorder David Osborne described Griffith’s behaviour as “outrageous”.

Prosecuting, Joe Davidson, said: “He admitted the offence in the magistrates’ court. He and the victim were in a relationship which has ended and the offence was committed on April 15.

“She had returned home to find him there and she allowed him in and he started behaving paranoid about a former partner of hers.

“She asked him to leave and he refused so she went and as she went out with the children he punched her in the face while she was holding their child.

“He followed her and punched her again and threatened to smash up her house. She was trying to find help from neighbours and he went back towards her house before turning and following her again.

“He then punched her a third time while she was still holding the young child and he threatened to smash up the house of any neighbours who helped the woman.”

Police were then called and Griffiths made full admissions at the scene.

Mitigating, Callum Munday, said his client feels remorse and is ashamed of his behaviour.

He said: “He’s disgusted by it and wishes he could go back in time and undo his actions. The red mist descended and he just snapped and it was so out of character.

Sentencing, Recorder David Osborne said: “It must be remembered that she was in her home and had her children with her. You know what you did was outrageous.”

He admitted assault a person thereby occasioning actual bodily harm and was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for two years.

He was ordered to complete 300 hours of unpaid work, complete the building better relationships programme and 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirement and he was handed a restraining order for five years.