A man ordered to attend the Building Better Relationships programme after beating up his former partner was told by the judge: “I will give you your first lesson for free: Don’t hit women.”

Mohammed Suleman was labelled “a coward and a bully” for dragging his victim into his car, grabbing her by the hair and repeatedly punching her in the head.

Suleman, 47, was driving his blue Honda erratically during the attack, Bradford Crown Court heard.

He told his male passenger to get a knife and the woman feared he was about to cut off her hair.

Suleman pleaded guilty last month to assault occasioning actual bodily harm on June 17 last year.

He went to an address in Arncliffe Crescent, Rastrick, Brighouse, and started banging on the door, prosecutor Kirsten Mercer said.

The woman did not want to speak to Suleman. Their relationship had been over for many years, Miss Mercer said.

But she went out into the street to “defuse the situation.”

Suleman, of Dunkirk Street, Halifax, then dragged her into the car, shut the door and drove off.

When he later fell asleep, she alerted the police to where he was.

The woman suffered a black eye and cuts and bruising to her back and shoulders.

She attended hospital but was discharged without treatment.

In her victim personal statement, she said she suffered nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks.

She had pain in her neck for some time afterwards and was afraid to go out on her own.

Suleman had previous convictions for dishonesty offences, common assault, harassment and breach of a non-molestation order.

He had served a 27 month prison sentence for trafficking Class A drugs.

Christopher Styles said in mitigation that Suleman had been in custody on remand for 182 days, the equivalent of a 12 month jail sentence.

He was genuinely remorseful and committed the offence while struggling with depression and anxiety.

While on remand, Suleman had weaned himself off illegal drugs and sought help for his mental health problems.

Judge Jonathan Rose told him: “A man who raises his hand to a woman is a coward and a bully.”

He continued: “This was an appalling attack on a wholly innocent woman.”

Suleman had behaved like a schoolboy, refusing to accept that the relationship was over.

But the woman’s injuries were not serious and the longest sentence he was legally allowed to pass would be around 11 months. Suleman had already served that on remand.

Judge Rose made a two year community order with a 33 day Building Better Relationships programme with the probation service.

It was then he told Suleman: “I will give you your first lesson for free: Don’t hit women.”

He made an indefinite restraining order banning Suleman from contacting the woman.