A WOMAN was almost killed when she was slashed across the throat by her jealous partner after both had been drinking and taking cocaine.

Paul Smith, 33, who chose the biggest knife in the house to attack the “vulnerable” victim, was today (Friday, January 25) jailed for 12 years.

Durham Crown Court was told the attack was the culmination of a “stormy” six-month relationship during which there was an undercurrent of violence.

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Adrian Dent, prosecuting, said it took place on their return home, to Oakdene, in Fishburn, County Durham, at 1am on July 20, following a night out drinking.

Mr Dent said they had more to drink and took cocaine before going to bed.

But as Smith’s partner undressed, he spotted three bruises on her left hip.

“He demanded to know where they came from," Mr Dent said.

"When she couldn’t offer an explanation, he suspected some form of infidelity as she had been away from home for a few days.”

Mr Dent said Smith stormed from the bedroom saying: “No-one’s going to make a mug out of me.”

Fearing she was going to be attacked she tried to barricade the door, but the more powerful Smith forced his way back in carrying a 10ins-bladed kitchen knife which he thrust once across her neck.

Mr Dent told the court: “The resulting 13cm slash wound, which was 4cm deep, was life-threatening, severing her wind-pipe and larynx, with potentially catastrophic effect due to the proximity to her jugular and carotid artery.”

She wrapped a duvet round her neck to try to stem the blood flow and begged Smith to ring for an ambulance.

He refused, but agreed to drive her to hospital, telling her to say the injury was self-inflicted.

She initially followed his wish when asked about the wound, but later revealed it was caused by Smith.

He was arrested and at first denied responsibility, saying his 31-year-old partner had self-harmed.

But, after contrary evidence of a Home Office pathologist about the nature of the injury, Smith admitted wounding with intent on the day his scheduled trial was to start, last month, with the victim ready to give evidence.

Mr Dent said she has undergone a tracheostomy and will be permanently scarred.

Glenn Gatland, for Smith, said their mutual drink and drug-taking was a “catalyst for events” that night.

He claimed the volatility in their relationship was “not just one way” and since the incident the woman has written to Smith and visited him twice in prison.

But, passing sentence, Recorder Gregory Perrins said Smith, “still appears to exercise an unhealthy degree of control over this vulnerable woman.”

Jailing him, he told Smith: “This was a vicious, unprovoked, violent assault causing life-threatening injuries, leaving permanent physical and psychological scars.”

He imposed a restraining order to restrict Smith making future contact with the woman or going with 100m of where she is living.