A BINGE drinker prone to losses of temper when under the influence of alcohol, threatened his partner with a knife following a domestic row, a court heard.

Stephen Hughes smashed glass bathroom shelves at their former home in Chester-le-Street, before coming downstairs and saying he would get money to spend the night in a hotel.

But, he then went to the kitchen and took a carving knife from a block, raising it in front of his terrified partner, before slashing two leather-covered settees, causing £799 worth of damage.

Durham Crown Court was told he left the house, leaving his now ex-partner in a highly distressed state.

She later complained to police over his behaviour and when arrested Hughes made no comment but presented a formal statement to officers.

The 60-year-old defendant, now of Western Terrace, Murton, admitted common assault and criminal damage, arising from the incident in April last year.

Judge Christopher Prince made Hughes subject to an 18-month community order to include 30 rehabilitation activity supervised by the Probation Service.

Hughes must also observe a two-month 8pm to 8am electronically-monitored home curfew and was ordered to pay £500 compensation.

A lifelong restraining order was put in place preventing him from contacting or approaching his ex-partner.