A 53-year-old man escaped with a conditional discharge after pleading guilty to criminal damage and assaulting his wife.

But magistrates in Huntingdon warned Paul Doggett that should he appear before a court again in the next 18 months, he will face a tougher sentence.

Prosecutor Chris Knowles told the court that Mr Doggett and his wife were returning home from a visit to the Job Centre in Huntingdon on December 3 when an argument about money flared as the couple drove through Godmanchester.

Mr Knowles said: "Mrs Doggett pulled over at the side of the road and told him [Mr Doggett] to get out. He refused so she went around to the passenger's side and tried to pull him out.

"He became aggressive at this point, grabbed Mrs Doggett around the collar and pulled it tight around her neck, which caused difficulty breathing and split the collar of the jumper at the neck.

"Mrs Doggett tried to call police but he took her phone from her and threw it, causing two small chips."

In mitigation, the court heard that Mr Doggett, of Oxford Way, in Upper Cambourne, was of good character and that the damage caused to the phone was "not significant". The couple had also reconciled since the incident.

Sentencing, magistrate Tracy Sortwell said: "This was not a pleasant day and not a pleasant series of events, a sad reflection on what has been a long marriage which has ended you up here and not in the matrimonial home.

"That will serve as a stark reminder to you, more so that any other punishment we can mete out today."

Mr Doggett was also ordered to pay £85 costs, and a £15 victim surcharge.