A MAN who abused and assault neighbours has escaped jail “by the skin of his teeth”.

Bolton Crown Court heard Ryan Hope lived in the same block of flats in New Drake Green, Westhoughton, as victims Emily Brown and Michael Jones.

Verity Quaite, prosecuting, said: “They both have had problems with the defendant over the past year, principally due to his behaviour when intoxicated. He would become abusive to residents.”

Matters came to a head on September 24 at about 9.15pm when Miss Brown heard 28-year-old Hope upstairs “ranting and raving” but ignored it.

“About 15 minutes later she heard banging and kicking at her door,” said Miss Quaite.

Hope was shouting abuse and calling her “a grass”.

“He threatened to burn her house and her car and said that if he found out it was her she would go missing,” said Miss Quaite.

Miss Brown’s neighbour, Mr Jones, overheard the comments and came to her aid, telling Hope neither of them had reported him.

The court heard this caused Hope to turn on Mr Jones, hurling racial abuse.

After Mr Jones objected to the racist insults Hope assaulted him and, when Miss Brown tried to intervene, he grabbed her by the throat and pushed her away.

Returning to his flat, Hope continued to scream racist abuse.

When arrested Hope denied he had assaulted anyone and even when shown video footage of him shouting abuse, denied it was him.

He later admitted to assault, racially aggravated assault, using threatening behaviour and threats to damage property.

In a victim statement Miss Brown said Hope, who has previous convictions for assault, had been “a living nightmare” for all the residents for months.

Ellen Shaw, defending, said Hope, who has problems with alcohol, was not planning to return to the privately rented accommodation.

Judge Martin Walsh stated it is in the public interest for Hope to get help dealing with his drinking and sentenced him to nine months in prison, suspended for two years.

He must also participate in 30 days of rehabilitation activities, a behaviour programme and six months of alcohol treatment.

He told Hope: “This was grotesque, foul and abusive behaviour on your part and you have just about escaped custody today by the skin of your teeth. If you breach this order the overwhelming probability is you will go to custody.”

A restraining order was made banning him from contacting his victims or going to New Drake Green.