A KNIFEMAN who cut his former girlfriend across the face during a row over missing belongings was yesterday jailed for 15 months.

Anthony Branighan, 32, had the blade in his hand when he put the woman in a bear-hug to stop her assaulting him, a court was told.

He pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding on the basis that the injury was caused recklessly rather than intentionally in May this year.

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The couple split after a brief romance, and the woman went to his home in Middlesbrough to retrieve earrings and family photographs.

When she could not find the treasured pictures, she accused Branighan of stealing them, and slapped him, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Zoe Passfield, mitigating, said he had earlier taken the knife from his pocket after arguing with the woman's new boyfriend.

In an interview with a probation worker, Branighan said he often carried weapons to protect himself against people out to get him.

Miss Passfield said he must have given the wrong impression, because although he had done so in the past, he no longer armed himself.

She told Judge Howard Crowson that the jobless dad-of-one stopped carrying knives after he got a lengthy prison sentence for robbery in 2008.

In a letter to the judge, Branighan spoke of his remorse and said he took full responsibility for the one-inch cut he caused.

Miss Passfield said he has finally accepted suffering from mental health problems and "a certain amount of paranoia".

Branighan, of Erith Grove, Middlesbrough, also admitted possessing a bladed article at an earlier court hearing.

Judge Crowson told him: "Where arguments result in wounds and where knives are involved, immediate custodial sentences have to be carried out."