FORMER Coronation Street star Bruce Jones has escaped a jail term for dangerous driving on the A55.

The actor, who played Les Battersby in the ITV soap, admitted last month that he grabbed the steering wheel of his wife Sandra’s car from her hands as she drove near Holywell.

Jones, 57, was drunk and shouted: “I’ll kill us both” during the incident last August.

He appeared at Mold Crown Court yesterday where he was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months.

The troubled actor pleaded guilty to dangerous driving a day after a jury heard his wife’s evidence about how he subjected her to years of drink-fuelled physical and emotional abuse.

He has since vowed to beat the bottle and save his marriage.

Jones showed no emotion as the Recorder Simon Medland handed down the sentence.

The judge was told Jones was in a 26-week rehabilitation programme to tackle his addiction to alcohol.

He said: “The efforts you are making to turn your life around are impressive.”

Jones was also ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work and must complete a 12-month supervision order. He was disqualified from driving for 18 months and must pay a total of £1,000 towards prosecution and his own costs.

Jones, of Knutsford Road, Alderley Edge, Cheshire, who appeared in court under his real name of Ian Roy Jones, was almost halfway through his trial last month when the jury was discharged because of a legal issue. He had the option of going for a retrial but decided against it, not wanting to force his long suffering wife to give evidence again, his barrister said.

An allegation of assault by grabbing Mrs Jones’ arm lies on file.

Dominic D’Souza, defending, said Jones was four weeks in to a six-week residential stay at a clinic. Following that he will undergo 20 weeks of cognitive and behavioural therapy and monitoring.

Mr D’Souza said: “He is, for the first time in 20 years, beginning to acknowledge his alcohol problems.”

Mr D’Souza read a statement on Jones’ behalf outside the court.

He said the actor was very grateful that the judge did not send him to prison.

He added: “The scourge of alcoholism is a terrible thing that affects people whatever their walk of life and wherever they have come from.

“Mr Jones has suffered from an alcohol problem for the last 20 years and he is very grateful that the courts have not imprisoned him today because it gives him an opportunity for the first time really to address what has become a very serious problem for him.

“It has affected his marriage and his personal relationships with his family and he feels he has let down his fans and the people who have supported him, to whom he owes the privileges he has had so far as his comforts and earnings.

“He hopes by addressing his alcohol problems he can restore both his personal relationships and those who have supported him in his acting career.”