A FORMER soldier who smashed his way into the home of his ex-wife demanding to know where her new partner was only stopped when his teenage son came downstairs and told him to leave.

Preston Crown Court heard how 39-year-old Peter James Heaton had been in a relationship with his former partner for 16 years and they have three children.

Having split up in 2018, Heaton began causing her real problems last February when he found out she had started seeing another man.

Heaton was convicted of harassment and a public order offence last June, which resulted in Heaton's ex getting a restraining order banning him from contacting her with all childcare arrangements being made through his mother.

Prosecuting, Stephen Parker said that arrangement became problematic when she blocked Heaton's mother on Facebook when she said she no longer wished to be the mediator in terms of arranging contact with the children.

The court heard how Heaton breached the terms of the restraining order on January 25 when he went to the Belvedere and Calder Vale Sports Club in Burnley when his middle child was playing football.

Mr Parker said Heaton approached the victim and said: "Why can't I see my kids? This is wrong."

When she said she didn't want to speak to him the court heard Heaton stayed at the club for another 15 minutes watching his son playing football from the touchline, saying: "Please can you sort something out? I'd like to see my children. Please unblock my mother on Facebook. I want to have contact with my children."

The court heard that on February 14, Heaton went to meet key worker Sherry Riley to talk about access to his children but he had turned up drunk.

Mr Parker said Heaton left the meeting saying: "I'll end up in prison. I'll end up doing something stupid," adding that: "Ms Riley needed to let him see the children."

The court heard that Ms Riley was so concerned she called Heaton's ex-partner to warn her.

Mr Parker said later that afternoon a drunken Heaton turned up at his ex's home and smashed her patio window with a hammer.

"She was extremely concerned for her current partner, believing he may be the recipient of the defendant's intentions. She told him to get upstairs. The two young children were already upstairs.

"The defendant came into the property shouting 'where's that man?'. He was making his way up the stairs and he was confronted by his eldest son who was screaming at him to get out. It was following that confrontation that the defendant left the property."

The court heard Heaton stumbled to a car belonging to his ex's partner and smashed the passenger side window, wing mirror and door panel, causing £800 damage.

Heaton, of Castle Street, Nelson, pleaded guilty to affray, criminal damage and two counts of breaching a restraining order.

Summarising the victim impact statements provided by Heaton's ex and her partner, Judge Mark Brown said: "Both witnesses express shock and horror at what occurred. They were quite profoundly affected by it all.

"Mr Heaton presents as quite a well-built man who no doubt in drink can be presenting as something of a very intimidating character."

Defending Mark Stuart, said Heaton, who was receiving counselling while on remand, had expressed sorrow for his actions and wanted to apologise to all involved.

He said: "After they split things remained fairly amicable, he was seeing the children on a daily basis and it was only in 2019 when things went wrong. He has to accept it's his fault, as he does. It's a combination of drink, PTSD and a number of features which has meant he has not dealt with this situation well."

Heaton was jailed for 15 months and Judge Brown also imposed a five-year restraining order.