A MAN reacted badly when his amorous advances towards a neighbour were rejected.

Blackburn magistrates heard Tony Lee Yates, 49, attacked Sarah Halstead, grabbing her round the throat and squeezing hard.

Her nine-year-old daughter came into the room, screaming hysterically and pleading with Yates to get off her mum.

Miss Halstead later told police she had been ‘petrified’ and thought Yates was going to kill her.

Yates, of Ribblesdale Avenue, Accrington, pleaded guilty to assaulting Miss Halstead and witness intimidation.

He was sentenced to five months in prison suspended for 12 months, made subject to community supervision for 12 months and ordered to pay £250 compensation and £85 costs.

He was also made subject to a restraining order for two years, which prohibits him from having any contact with Miss Halstead or entering the curtilage of her property.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said Yates had gone round to Miss Halstead’s with a bottle of vodka and a bottle of cola.

“It seems he is very attracted to her and while she doesn’t mind him as a friend she is not attracted to him,” said Miss Allan.

About 11pm Miss Halstead said she was going to bed and asked him to leave.

He accused her of going out with Brian, another friend, and when she put Brian on the phone to explain they were just friends Yates accused them both of lying.

“He threw the phone down and grabbed her by the throat with both hands, squeezing very hard,” said Miss Allan.

After he eventually let go of Miss Halstead he yanked her head back by her hair and poured the rest of his drink over her. After he had been charged and bailed with assault, Miss Halstead was driving to work when his van pulled in front of her forcing her to stop.

He wound down his window and said: “You will get what is coming to you.”

She said when she drove past him he had his fingers to the side of his head as if he was holding a gun.

Gareth Price, defending, said Miss Allen said in her statement she had never seen Yates act like that before. “He is also at a loss to understand why he behaved in the way he did,” said Mr Price. “He acknowledges there was an attraction to this lady which wasn’t reciprocated.