A MAN who gouged his partner’s eyes after straddling her and biting her hand has been spared jail.

Peter Todd had been drinking at a pub all day before returning home and arguing with his now ex-partner.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court heard that when police attended the property two days later the victim was wearing sunglasses to cover severely bloodshot and swollen eyes.

Alan Davison, prosecuting, said: “[The victim] rang the police and said that on the previous night she had been assaulted by Mr Todd who had gouged her eyes and scratched her face.

“She reported the incident to the police who turned up at her parents’ house. They said that [the victim] wasn’t there and she had gone back to the defendant's.

“Police went to his address and found both of them still in their dressing gowns, they had obviously been together the previous evening.

“[The victim] was still wearing sunglasses to cover her eyes, police asked her to remove them and saw her eyes were extremely bloodshot, swollen and full of fluid.

“She declined to make a statement.”

Mr Davison said that Todd told police he had been out drinking at the pub all day and had consumed six pints of lager, before going home and drinking a further four bottles of beer.

He added: “The defendant said they were sitting on the sofa watching TV before they began having a discussion which soon turned into an argument.

"He grabbed her by the hair and straddled her, pushing his thumbs into her eyes. He said he didn't mean to do it but accepts that he did that to her and he bit her on the fingers.

"He told officers he was appalled by his actions and accepted that alcohol was a contributing factor."

Todd pleaded guilty to one charge of assaulting a person thereby occasioning them actual bodily harm on August 22 this year.

He has a previous conviction for a similar matter against a different partner which dates back to 2006.

A Probation Officer said the 54-year-old had been struggling with alcohol consumption.

He said: "He had been in a relationship with this lady for a long time and is ashamed of his behaviour. He is very sorry and he is hopeful that he can rekindle his relationship.

"He does drink alcohol, he drinks lager regularly and that was clearly a factor of this particular offence. He knows that he needs to address this because he is drinking excessively."

Jaxon Taylor, mitigating, said: "He has stayed out of trouble for 14 years, his last conviction being from 2006. He is thoroughly ashamed of his behaviour."

District Judge Helen Cossins said: "It was very unpleasant behaviour and it could have caused serious injuries, thankfully it did not."

Todd, of Park Lane, Horden, Peterlee, was sentenced to 14 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months.

He was also given a seven week curfew from 8pm till 7am and ordered to pay £85 costs and £95 victim surcharge.