A MAN slashed his long-term partner after a drunken row which began when she refused his request to tidy up.

The woman sustained a slash injury down her left forearm as she fended off the blow delivered by William Edward Hopwood, using either a knife or pair of scissors.

Hopwood, 47, said to have been either an alcoholic, or recovering alcoholic, at the time of the attack, on April 22, was jailed for 18 months at Durham Crown Court, having admitted assault causing actual bodily harm, at a previous hearing.

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The court was told Hopwood, of Burnie Gardens, Shildon, was in relationship with the woman for most of the last 18 years, and although he did not live with her, he saw her most days.

Tom Moran, prosecuting, said the attack took place while friends were present, following Hopwood’s request that she do some tidying up.

“She felt it demeaning, given the presence of other people,” said Mr Moran.

“He then demanded to see her mobile phone, not for the first time, to see who she had been in contact with.

“That was the spark for what happened next.

“He jumped to his feet from the sofa and lunged at her.

“It’s not clear if it was with a knife or scissors, as both were later recovered from the room.

“She received a classic defensive injury to her forearm, and he then told her: ‘I’ll get your neck next time’.”

Mr Moran said Hopwood wrestled the phone from her, but refused to call for an ambulance.

As she tried to leave he struck another blow, to her shoulder, before she fled to his mother’s house, nearby, locking out Hopwood.

He was subsequently arrested and, when interviewed, made few responses.

The victim was treated at hospital for the 1cm-deep slash injury.

Mr Moran said Hopwood’s previous convictions include one for violence on his partner, for which he was made subject of a restraining order.

But, John Turner, mitigating, told the court despite the latest attack, his partner has still visited Hopwood while he has been on remand in prison and has regularly written to him.

Mr Turner said Hopwood began drinking heavily after suffering a broken neck in a fall, five years ago, a problem he accepts needs addressing.

He added that due to the amount Hopwood drank he has no memory of the incident.

Jailing him, Judge Peter Kelson told Hopwood: “If, during this melee, her arm had been turned the other way, it could have been a far more serious outcome.

“Mercifully, that was not the case.”