A crazed boyfriend battered his girlfriend on Christmas Eve – then hounded her over the festive period before pretending he was dead.

Marc McLelland lost the plot when his girlfriend said she wanted to spend Christmas Day with her former partner, so he could see the child they have together.

Jealous McLelland began arguing with her And during the course of the argument at his dad’s home he attacked her, raining punches on her head, hitting her three times, before kicking her on the leg.

He then went on to terrorise her over the rest of the festive period at her Stevenston home, inundating her with unwanted phone calls, text messages and voicemails, in which he called her countless abusive names, between Christmas Eve and December 27 last year.

He also made jokes about a loved one who is just a baby, who can’t be named for legal reasons, being ill – and the youngster being taken into care.

And he later claimed he knew he had done wrong but had passed away – while using his dad’s phone and pretending to be his father.

The details emerged on Monday when McLelland, of Annick Road, Irvine, appeared in the dock at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court to be sentenced over the campaign of abuse.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to charges of domestic assault and engaging in a course of conduct which caused his ex fear and alarm and sentence had been deferred for background reports to be prepared.

Defence lawyer Ashley Kane told Sheriff Elizabeth McFarlane that McLellan suffers from “quite serious mental health problems” and had “lost control of his emotions” as he believed his partner had been cheating on him with her ex.

She asked for leniency, saying he would comply with a Community Payback Order and had the chance of a job, with an interview to go to.

Sheriff McFarlane slammed McLellan for his conduct but spared him jail, saying: “You should be going straight to jail, today, Mr McLelland, for this utterly reprehensible and disgusting behaviour.

“The only reason I’m not going to send you to prison is because you come before me as, basically, a first offender - you only have one previous conviction." 

She placed him on a Community Payback Order which will see him supervised by social workers for a year and having to undergo treatment for his mental health difficulties.

As she imposed the sentence, Sheriff McFarlane said: “I don’t care if you get a job, you get these hours done.”

McLelland replied: “Okay, I will.”