AN ALEXANDRIA man who was heard by a 999 call handler threatening to throw his partner down the stairs at their home had only just completed a programme aimed at making domestic abusers face up to their behaviour.

Steven Marsland repeatedly threatened the woman at his home in Beechwood Drive earlier this year.

The 39-year-old appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court for sentencing on Friday after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to a charge of threatening or abusive behaviour.

The court heard that a 999 call was made from the property in the early hours of February 10 – and that though no-one spoke during the call, a man’s voice could be clearly heard by the call handler making a series of chilling threats.

Fiscal depute Gemma McKechnie told Friday’s hearing: “Just after midnight the accused, accidentally or intentionally, contacted 999.

“Within the call, there was no conversation, but the operator heard the accused shouting ‘want me to punch your f*****g face in?’, ‘do you want me to grab you by the hair and throw you down the stairs?’.”

Marsland, the court heard, could also be heard saying ‘those stairs have got your name on it’, and ‘watch you don’t f*****g die in there’.

Alarmed at this, the call handler decided to send police to the property.

Ms McKechnie said the call had lasted a total of some 15 minutes, and that the two parties did sound amicable towards the end of the call.

Defence solicitor Stephen McGuire said: “The offensive comments were uttered within the first couple of minutes of the call, and were utterly ignored by the complainer.

“Mr Marsland had been drinking and he felt it was time for her to go, but she wasn’t keen to leave.”

Mr McGuire said Marsland had thought, incorrectly, that his 999 call had been disconnected.

Mr McGuire also told the court Marsland had completed West Dunbartonshire’s PAIR programme, for domestic abuse offenders, around the time of the offence.

Sheriff John Hamilton replied: “That suggests a mixed message. We have a positive social work report on Mr Marsland, suggesting he engaged really well with the PAIR programme.

“But did the programme really work?

“My analogy is with Weight Watchers – it’s not going to Weight Watchers that counts, it’s losing weight that counts.

“Anyone can talk the talk; it’s whether you can demonstrate you are applying the skills learned from the PAIR programme that’s important. And this is classic domestic violence.”

Mr McGuire said Marsland had been assessed as suitable for the Turning Point programme in West Dunbartonshire, which aims to tackle the related problems of offending behaviour and substance misuse.

Sheriff Hamilton deferred sentence on Marsland for three months for good behaviour, but told him: “I’m not impressed. I’m not convinced that whatever you did on the PAIR programme has had any effect.”