Blackpool attacker's ' imitation firearm' was a cigarette lighter

An abusive man who was seen brandishing a cigarette lighter that looked like a firearm has been jailed for 42 months.

William David Coakley, 48, of Marple Close, Blackpool, also admitted attacking his partner twice in two days, Preston Crown Court heard.

William Coakley

William Coakley

Prosecuting, David Clarke said a motorist had been driving northbound on Clifton Drive in Blackpool at 1pm on July 9 when he heard a loud screeching of tyres and raised voices.

Just after the junction with Squires Gate Lane he saw a man running from an apartment block towards a black Seat Leon shouting loudly .

He added: " What particularly caught his attention was he appeared to have a black handgun and he was pointing this towards the vehicle.

"He was waving it around although no shots were fired. The man turned around in what seemed a very carefree and calm manner, switched the gun into his other hand, and walked back into the apartments."

READ MORE: Blackpool dad viciously assaulted while trying to stop attack on a mum in front of her children
An off duty officer also saw what happened and requested help.

Coakley admitted possessing an imitation firearm.

On January 5 and 6, in an unrelated incident, Coakley violently attacked his partner, calling her names and attacking her.

The court heard she lay down with her face in a pillow to protect herself from his blows.

He lured his victim back home by contacting her and asking her to come back for a "hug" - but as soon as she reentered the flat he shouted at her.

Mr Clarke said: " He started to smack her in the ribs and there were several blows and a punch to her lower back. She was accused of cheating on him.

" The next day it seemed he had calmed down. He gave her a hug but from nowhere started getting angry again.

"He grabbed her by her hair to drag her to the floor, dragged her to bedroom and around the room. She was kicked to her ribs, which were sore from the day before, and she was screaming as a result.

"He then produced a knife he held to her throat and poked her in her side."

In a victim statement the woman said she felt embarrassed by what had happened as she had told her family his violence had stopped.

She said she "still loved him" but knew she couldn't be with him.

He also admitted perverting the course of justice over making a call to the woman from custody to the pretext of a personal phone call, and persuading solicitor to use his phone to call his 'uncle - instead calling her.

Judge Nicholas Barker said he acknowledged he'd had a difficult upbringing but added: " That's many years ago now. You are 49 years of age and you know you have to behave."