A DAD-OF-THREE has been jailed after breaking into his sister-in-law's house and punching her repeatedly in the face while her children hid upstairs.

Michael Rawlinson, of Kestrels Way in Runcorn, appeared at Chester Crown Court yesterday, Thursday to be sentenced for burglary with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and assault causing actual bodily harm.

The court heard how the victim, Ms Rigby, is the ex partner of Rawlinson's brother and the relationship had ended in March.

On March 22, the victim contacted Rawlinson's girlfriend and told her that Rawlinson had been unfaithful to her.

His girlfriend said she knew this and confronted him about it.

The 34-year-old told his girlfriend that Ms Rigby was 'trying to get in her head' and 'not to allow' this.

Matthew Curtis, prosecuting, said: "It seems that he allowed it to get in his head.

"On Mothering Sunday, Ms Rigby was getting her three children, aged seven, six and four, ready in her house to visit her mum.

"The defendant attended her home 'to speak to her' and banged on the door.

"She told him he was not coming inside.

"The children asked their mum 'is that dad, has he escaped out of jail?' before hiding in the bedroom.

"Rawlinson then smashed the glass on the front door and Ms Rigby ran upstairs to call her mum.

"She told her what was happening and asked her to call the police."

The court was told how Rawlinson became angrier and using a tool, broke in through the back door.

Described as 'around six foot and a stocky build' he then punched his sister-in-law 'at least' twice in the face.

This caused serious injuries and the victim's seven-year-old daughter rang her grandma telling her that she thought her mum was dead 'as it had all gone quiet downstairs'.

Judge Steven Everett added: "What a terrible thing for them to go through."

Mr Curtis continued: "Ms Rigby believed she lost consciousness and woke up on the living room floor.

"She crawled upstairs to her children and the police arrived shortly afterwards.

"As the police walked up to the house, Rawlinson's dad - who lives next door to Ms Rigby - told officers 'don't go in there he'll knock you the f*** out of you'."

Police had to use capsaicin spray to calm the defendant down and force him to drop a knife.

He had several lacerations on his arm.

When his girlfriend arrived at the scene, he told her: "There isn't anything left for me to live for is there?"

Rawlinson has previous convictions for offences including assault, intimidating a witness, criminal damage and affray.

Jeremy Rawson defending, said: "He has three children and regrettably his sister died shortly after this incident.

"He has a history of mental illness and suffers with depression.

"His partner had confronted him about adultery and rather than deal with it in a sensible fashion, his impulse was to fight.

"After punching her twice he drew back and no weapon was involved.

"But this was in front of small children and they must have been horrified.

"He has since shown clear remorse for his actions."

Jailing Rawlinson for 37 months, judge Everett, said: "How would he have liked it if a man broke into his house and attacked his girlfriend in front of his three children?

"This was a truly nasty incident and must have been an awful experience for those children.

"I hope you look back on this with great shame and remorse.

"You completely lost control and smashed your way into a house to specifically attack that woman."