A THUG who crashed his girlfriend's car during a police chase threatened to kill her after she asked him to return the vehicle.

Last month Wigan magistrates jailed 29-year-old Christopher Kirby for six months after he admitted dangerous driving and having no licence or insurance.

Kirby, of Plodder Lane, Farnworth, had been driving his partner's Audi A3, with her in the passenger seat, on February 27 when it crashed during the pursuit on Parkdale Road, Bolton.

In a further hearing, at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court Kirby also pleaded guilty to making a threatening phone call to his partner and assaulting her.

David Lees, prosecuting, said Kirby had continued to use the damaged car after his arrest for the driving offences and became angry when his girlfriend asked him to return it.

Mr Lees said the pair had been in a relationship for two years.

""It was clearly a troubled and turbulent relationship. On March 6 the defendant was still using the car and she says she was too afraid to ask for it back," said Mr Lees, who added that the woman was at a friend's house when Kirby called her on the phone.

He threatened to come to the address and warned "something might happen" to the house or her car.

Police were called but the next day the woman contacted Kirby asking for her car back.

Mr Lees added: "He said she could get her car from his house but continued the threats saying, 'I'm going to beat you up. You're going to get battered and if any police are involved and I go to jail then I'll kill you when I get out."

On March 8, when she went to his house he asked to use her phone to check on a bet, but instead used the opportunity to look at her text messages and became angry when he discovered she had talked to friends about problems in the relationship.

"He punched her twice, causing a black eye and cut inside her lip," said Mr Lees.

Judge Timothy Stead heard that the woman wishes to continue the relationship with Kirby, who has convictions for 79 previous offences, including eight for assault.

Jane Miller, defending, said Kirby's mental health had been badly affected by a very serious motorbike accident in November last year.

"He regrets behaving in the way he did on March 5,6 and 8," she said.

"He very, very much regrets the fact that he inflicted injuries. Clearly, she was trying to be helpful and supportive of him at the time.

"He is grateful to her that she continues to stand by him."

Judge Stead told Kirby: "She is now, as I understand it, forgiving and desires to see you again.

"I make no further remark about that. It is no part of my duty to deal with other people's relationships if they are free to choose."

The judge sentenced Kirby to one month in prison, stressing that he had to take into account the overall penalty he would have received if he had been sentenced for the latest offences at the same time as the dangerous driving.