A 20-year-old from Blackpool who repeatedly beat a female driver, leaving her with cuts and bruises to the face, has narrowly avoided jail.

James Edward Barrow, of 65 Bentinck Avenue, Blackpool, pleaded guilty today (January 21) to assaulting a woman in a road rage incident on January 5 when the pair were driving in separate vehicles towards Lytham from South Shore.

The 20-year-old had repeatedly thrown punches and kicked the victim in the body and head after dragging the woman from her car by the hair.

Barrow attended the court dressed in a fitted grey suite with a white shirt and red tie and looked sullen as he admitted to the crime.

For the offence he was handed a 12 month community order, a curfew of 16 weeks and to pay a fine of £325.

Magistrate Christopher Hurst presiding told Barrow: "We've have listened to everything that has been said about this case.

"We first have to say that this is quite a horrific incident, you put this young lady through a tremendous ordeal here which is unacceptable in this society.

"We have come very close to going into immediate custody today. It's only the representations of your solicitor and the work of the probation officer that has made us step back."

The victim told the court she had been travelling along Clifton Drive and had stopped at a set of red traffic lights when a white Ford Fiesta, driven by Barrow, crossed two lanes and cut her up.

She said the driver was a young man who was driving "stupidly," travelling bumper to bumper with other vehicles.

The two vehicles stopped outside the Lord Derby Pub when the victim decided to take a photo of the car in front of her.

She believes that Barrow must have seen her because he got out of his vehicle and screamed at her: "I'm not scared of you or anyone you know."

He returned to his car and looked to be turning left at the junction with the victim driving straight on.

But Barrow swung his car back around at the last minute pulling in behind the victim, he began following the woman as she drove along, driving close behind her.

A section of Clifton Drive between South Shore and Lytham St Annes where Barrow and his victim were driving.

The 20-year-old began throwing objects, including a deodorant can, from his window at the female's car.

The victim decided to pull in along the road and was bumped from behind by the car as he also stopped.

It was then that the offender got of his Ford Fiesta and walked over to the victm's vehicle before throwing open the door and pulling her bodily from the car by the hair.

He then reigned down several vicious and repeated blows on her head, leaving her with several cuts and bruises as well as a large lump on her temple.

During the attack the victim put her arms over her face, fearful that the assault would knock out her teeth.

Barrow's girlfriend, who was with him in his car, was heard begging the 20-year-old to cease the attack but he told her to "f*ck off."

A witness to the attack described how Brown continued to throw "punch after punch after punch."

After Barrow had finished the attack he fled the scene, leaving the victim injured on the roadside.

Adam Brown defending Barrow told the court: "This is a particularly unusual incident from this young man for him to act in such a way when he had no previous convictions.

"There was a trigger that was hit, on that occasion, that led him to act in the way that he did.

He continued: "He has shown genuine remorse, if you were to send him to immediate custody today what would that achieve?

Barrow was given a community order for 12 months, told he would be under curfew for 16 weeks and slapped with a £325 fine including £150 compensation to the victim.