A man called 999 and told the operator "I've smashed her head in" after beating his wife.

Martin McCrea told police "I've attempted to murder my wife" after attacking her with a battery pack and strangling her.

He had been on a three-day cocaine bender and when he returned claimed he overheard a conversation between Claire Whiteside and the father of her children.

McCrea of Lea Road, Egremont, Wallasey, said he "just saw red" after he heard the father say "He will see through that, he's not stupid".

When Ms Whiteside allegedly later asked him to buy a computer it was "the straw that broke the camel's back".

The 49-year-old appeared at Liverpool Crown Court today after admitting common assault and wounding with intent.

Simon Driver, prosecuting, explained that at around 3am on February 13 this year a neighbour was woken by screaming and shouting coming from the bedroom next door.

She heard Ms Whiteside calling her name and heard her husband say "I wish you hadn't come back here".

Around half an hour later the emergency services were called by McCrea.

He told the operator: "I attempted to murder my wife. I've smashed her head in with a battery of a drill."

Over the phone McCrea also admitted trying to strangle Ms Whiteside.

Mr Driver explained that when police arrived one officer described seeing a "compliant defendant walking slowly down the stairs into the hall".

The officer stated that his face, arms and clothing were covered in blood.

When the officers were in the property McCrea said: "She's in the front bedroom at the side of the bed, please help her."

They found Ms Whiteside "covered in blood lying on the floor and lying on a blood-stained pillow" with a metal wristwatch embedded in her hair and a "severely swollen" face.

A note next to the bed read: "I'm so sorry. Love papa bear Martin".

Police also discovered a cannabis grinder and wraps of white powder, explained Mr Driver.

The court heard that the blood spatter pattern revealed Ms Whiteside was hit over the head at least twice after she had already begun bleeding heavily.

Ms Whiteside had to have a total of 50 stitches on her head, lip and finger after she was battered by her husband.

McCrea said: "I saw what I was doing, it's like waking up. She was still speaking telling me she loved me, that's when I rang for 999."

Mr Driver said: "Unsurprisingly Claire Whiteside speaks of being rendered very disturbed and upset by the trauma of the events."

A common assault charge related to an allegation of violence between the couple in December 2019 when McCrea had "repeatedly punched her to the throat whilst they were arguing at home".

McCrea has no previous convictions for violence, the court heard.

Trevor Parry-Jones, defending, told the court McCrea had a "complete moment of madness" and now "bitterly regrets what he has done".

In police interview McCrea told officers he had met Ms Whiteside after speaking with her through an adult website in early 2018.

Mr Parry-Jones said: "It wasn't just him and her, there was another male who was more closely associated with her and also the father of her children."

He said: "He began, with the invitation of [Ms Whiteside] to consume large quantities of cocaine and drink and binge."

Mr Parry-Jones explained following the death of his mother, McCrea was left with £60,000 and "within two years it was all gone".

Ms Whiteside had drug debts which were paid by McCrea and that they would often spend around £600 on cocaine for a binge, Mr Parry-Jones told the court.

McCrea had also previously lent a computer to Ms Whiteside's daughter which he didn't see again.

Mr Parry-Jones said: "Eventually he felt enough was enough. He realised, or began to realise, he was being used."

When the victim asked McCrea to get another computer it was the "straw that broke the camel's back".

He said: "He had been pushed to breaking point in this relationship with terrible consequences for her and terrible consequences for him."

In police interview Mr Parry-Jones explained McCrea said: "I was fed up with being used.

"I didn't want to kill her, I wanted to hurt her but I didn't think I would've hurt her that much."

Mr Parry-Jones explained that McCrea did call police himself when he realised what he had done and has been "utterly remorse-filled".

Pictured is Liverpool Crown Court

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He told the court McCrea had a difficult upbringing with his parents and has attempted suicide twice in the past.

Mr Parry-Jones referred to McCrea as "vulnerable" and "a loner" who "doesn't form intimate relationships easily".

He said: "He's found time in prison very difficult. He's been in his cell for 23 hours a day as a result of Covid. He is suffering from depression that hasn't eased it."

Judge Denis Watson, QC, sentencing, said: "I accept you had a difficult childhood but note that in the course of adult life you were employed in a variety of good jobs within the car industry.

"So far as long term relationships, they have been hampered to probably a greater extent by your drug abuse - most recently cannabis and cocaine abuse."

The judge noted McCrea's struggles with depression and previously attempted suicides.

Judge Watson said: "You thought she was using you as means to pay for her drugs use as well as your own but also to fund drug debts and other aspects of her life."

He said: "She was in her own home in her bed. You took out this battery pack from a drawer and began to strike her repeatedly to the head. These must have been heavy blows with this weapon."

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The judge stated that there were "several phases" to the attack after McCrea initially beating her with the battery pack, then strangling her, then beating her with the battery pack again.

A psychiatric report concluded McCrea's moderate depression, linked to his drug abuse, had "some impact" on his behaviour.

Judge Watson stated that the previous domestic violence incident also made this incident more serious.

"You are the one who called 999 and I'm prepared to accept a considerable degree of remorse.

The judge imposed an indefinite restraining order preventing McCrea from contacting or approaching Ms Whiteside.

McCrea was ordered to a 10-year prison sentence, of which he will serve two thirds.