A DRUG user has been told a jail sentence hangs over his head if he doesn’t clean up his act.

James Ross Barker, 37, of no fixed abode, appeared at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday last week having pleaded guilty to one count of assault causing actual bodily harm.

Barker was arrested on September 8 this year after he had got into a confrontation with Connie Copage in the McDonald’s restaurant in The Top of The Town.

The court heard in the course of a verbal altercation, Ms Copage threw a milkshake at Barker, which led him to react aggressively towards her.

The court heard CCTV footage then showed Barker dragging Ms Copage out of the restaurant, in Market Place, by the arm, before kicking her in the torso and stamping on her.

Prosecuting, Jane Rowley, said: “Ms Copage was taken to Basingstoke hospital to be treated for her injuries and this is where she disclosed it was Mr Barker who had attacked her.

“She said that he had become angry because he could not get any drugs.”

Ms Rowley said that during her time in hospital Ms Copage didn’t want to get Barker into trouble.

The court heard how both Barker and Ms Copage are regular street drinkers in the town centre, and at the time of the incident a number of people had seen them arguing.

Defending Barker, Fern Russell, said that since his arrest, Ms Copage has still been in contact “as there was some type of relationship there.”

Ms Russell said: “I have said to him that until he is able to deal with his drink and drug problems a relationship should not be considered.

“He understands the severity of what he done, but he blames her (Copage) for provoking him and she admits to throwing the milkshake over him.”

In sentencing Judge Andrew Barnett said: “There is a feeling that you want to do something about your problem, and I am going to give you that chance.

“But know that you are going to have people watching you and you are going to have to behave for the next two years or you will end up in jail.”

Barker was sentenced to six months in jail, which has been suspended for two years. He was also ordered to complete 30 rehabilitation activity days.