A MAN who stabbed his former partner in a terrifying attack in her home was jailed for ten years after a court heard he was "mentally fragile" because she had lied about the death of their unborn baby.

Barry Gardener was said to have been suffering over his father's death, and his grief was compounded by his ex's "deceit" when she pretended she was still pregnant after losing their child.

A judge told the 36-year-old that the unusual circumstances were not an excuse for the near-fatal attack at the woman's home in Redcar, east Cleveland, in the early hours of October 27 last year.

Gardner took a carving knife from his kitchen and had it tucked down his sock before being allowed into the property before stabbing his victim eight times in the torso and arm.

Prosecutor Jolyon Perks told Teesside Crown Court on Wednesday that the woman also suffered a further seven wounds to her hands as she tried to fight off her attacker.

Drink- and cocaine-fuelled Gardener also held the 17cm blade to the her throat, and she later told police she was certain she would be killed.

The court heard how she suffered life-threatening injuries, including punctured lungs and a bleed around her heart, and needed emergency surgery.

The woman told police that Gardener had been violent to her in the past, and added: "I don't understand what was different this time. It seemed planned. He was calm."

Gardener, of Cleveland Street, Redcar, admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, QC, heard how Gardener took the knife from his sock, told his former girlfriend "I'm sorry" then stabbed her repeatedly in the stomach, chest and back a week after they had split up following an 18-month relationship punctuated by "domestic incidents".

In the days leading up to the attack, Gardener sent the woman a series of threatening and aggressive text messages, and she stayed with a neighbour because she was frightened, the court was told.

Rod Hunt, mitigating, said Gardener was in the grip of an “emotional catastrophe” over the loss of the victim’s child, and told the judge: “Whatever the reason, when the baby was lost, she did not tell the defendant.

“She continued to inform him that she was pregnant, and indeed that she had gone on and given birth.

“Photographs of another child were produced. A name had been given to the child. This was a fallacy."

He said he was not trying to cast blame on the victim: “We do not know why the complainant did that, maybe to spare the defendant’s feelings.”

He told how Gardener thought the child was in an incubator in hospital, leading to preparations for the baby’s homecoming, with him decorating a nursery and asking a friend to make a set of wardrobes.

“It was going to be one of the happiest occasions of his life,” added Mr Hunt. "He was grief-stricken and devastated when he found out the truth.

“His already fragile mental state disintegrated.

“He cannot explain why he did the wicked thing that he did, but certainly that’s the background to it.”

He said Gardener, who had been drinking cans, wine and vodka before the attack, drew back from “the ultimate loss of temper”, came to his senses and left.

Gardener fled the scene and dumped the knife, but he called an ambulance from Redcar railway station, saying he had stabbed his partner, and was on-the-run for three days.

When he was arrested, he told police: “Have you seen what I’ve done? I’ve gone too f***ing far now. Do you know what I’ve done to her? I never meant to f*** ing hurt her.

“Job's f***ed, life's gone. Won’t get out until I'm 70. I won’t see my mam.”

In a statement, the victim told how she was terrified, how the assault affected her and her feelings towards men.

Mr Hunt said Gardener was deeply remorseful and ashamed, could hardly believe what he did and had flashbacks.

He said: “He is racked with guilt. His thoughts are with the complainant, who has suffered far more than he will suffer.”

Judge Bourne-Arton said Gardener had planned the "sustained" attack while his victim had "desperately" tried to fight him off.