An abusive thug with a history of domestic violence, kicked his ex-girlfriend's pet chihuahua against a wall so hard that it died outright.

Adam McCarthy, 28, killed his ex-partner Laura Ing's 3lb (1.5kg) Chihuahua, Mollie, after he flew into a rage and stuck his fingers down his former girlfriend's throat.

McCarthy, who has over 20 domestic violence convictions, was jailed for six months after he admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, and for five months for assaulting his partner.

The sentences, handed out at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court, will run concurrently. McCarthy has also been banned from owning animals and from contacting Ings.

Prosecutors said McCarthy, an alcohol and substance abuser, was in an "on/off" relationship with his 28-year-old lover for five years.

The court had heard, on Friday (10 November), that Ing wanted to leave the flat because McCarthy had become aggressive and grabbed her by the face and throat during a night in.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson said according to the Sunderland Echo: "Miss Ing has had some concerns about the amount McCarthy drinks and she described that, as the evening went on, he started "acting weird."

He continued: "She walked to the front door with her dog so he grabbed her by the throat and pinned her against the wall and was shouting at her.

"She continued to try to leave as he dragged her back inside through the door, placing his fingers inside her mouth."

Anderson added: "Understandably the dog was upset by what was going on and began whimpering. McCarthy then said to the dog "you can shut up you ******* little rat" and he kicked the dog into the external wall of the premises, killing it outright."

Ing said in a victim impact statement that she still has nightmares about the death of her dog, whilst Anna Haq, defending McCarthy, said her client was remorseful for what he had done.

District Judge Roger Elsey said: "I have no doubt your brutality towards that dog. together with the violence and harm you inflicted on Miss Ing, means a custodial sentence can be justified."

The court heard how McCarthy had been previously jailed for 14 months for a serious wounding on a previous girlfriend.