A DRUNKEN man who tried to ram a married barmaid off the motorway after she refused to give him her number has been jailed.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Albanian national Lirim Maqinaj followed his victim for 30 minutes from the Robin Hood in Swinton, along the M66 to her home town of Rawtenstall.

And the ordeal only came to an end when she managed to get the attention of police in a squad car after flashing her lights.

Prosecuting, Stephen Parker said Maqinaj had come into the pub, which was popular with members of the area’s large Albanian community, on October 27 and it was obvious to the victim that he had already been drinking. She went on to serve him six Jack Daniels and Cokes.

She said that Maqinaj had asked for her telephone number three times and at one point the ‘father’ of the Albanian group told him to leave her alone because he was aware she was married.

Mr Parker said the victim left work shortly after midnight she got into her car to drive home and noticed the the defendant sitting in a silver Mercedes car as she did so.

Mr Parker said Maqinaj followed her to the M66.

He said as they went passed the Bury junction Maqinaj pulled the Mercedes alongside the victim’s vehicle and tried to ram her off the road and onto the hard shoulder.

The victim said she had to keep speeding up and slowing down to avoid a collision and was really scared because she knew he was drunk.

Mr Parker said by the time she got to the slip road to come off at Rawtenstall her boss who she had asked for help had managed to catch her up.

He was behind her when Maqinaj again pulled alongside her and tried ramming he car.

While she was still on the phone to a police operator she noticed a police car, with the officer inside completely unaware of what was going on.

After repeatedly flashing her lights to get the officer’s attention the victim pulled up alongside his vehicle and explained she had been followed from Manchester and that Maqinaj was drunk.

When the officer pulled up alongside the defendant’s car, close to Rawtenstall Fire Station, he ran off and jumped 20ft down into the River Irwell.

Mr Parker said Maqinaj was arrested a short time later hiding behind a car.

Maqinaj told officers he had ran off because he was in the United Kingdom illegally.

Maqinaj made insufficient effort to blow into the breathalyser both at the scene and at the police station, the prosecutor said.

Maqinaj, 30, of Jessop Street, Manchester, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, stalking, harassment, failing to provide a specimen for analysis and driving without insurance.

In her impact statement, the victim said she had worked at the pub since she was 16 but has had to quit because she now feared driving at night and on the motorway.

Mr Parker added: “She has been having nightmares since the incident.”

Defending, Afzal Anwar said his client accepted the prosecution case in full and had shown genuine remorse for what he had done.

He said: “He does want to be deported. He doesn’t want to stay here.”

Jailing Maqinaj for 14 months and disqualifying him from driving for 31 months, Judge Sara Dodd said: “In my judgement your conduct on this particular occasion was not just wrong or ill-advised it was very sinister.”