A MAN dubbed a “thug and bully” carried out a sustained attack on his partner, punching her in the face at least 20 times and then thrusting a samurai sword in her direction, a court heard.

The terrified victim managed to take evasive action parrying the blade with her hand, cutting her index finger in the process.

Durham Crown Court heard that it was the culmination of a protracted assault, which began late on Friday November 20, last year.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said Mould had been staying at his now former partner’s flat, in Bishop Auckland, for about six weeks at the time.

A friend attended at 9pm, as the couple argued about drugs and Mould grabbed his partner by the throat, threatening to kill her.

Several hours later Mould punched the woman several times and put her to the bedroom floor, where he kicked and punched her to the face.

He then armed himself with the sword, removing it from the sheath and thrusting it towards his partner.

Mr Sabiston said in fending off the blow with her hand it caused extensive bleeding.

The visitor ushered Mould to the door, but on leaving, he threatened to put out all the windows and get his partner thrown out of the flat.

Mr Sabiston said she suffered a black eye and a severed tendon to her finger.

Mould, 37, of Wood Street, Spennymoor, was subsequently arrested and initially denied wounding with intent, only admitting it a week before his scheduled trial.

The court heard his 59 past convictions were for 123 offences, include many for violence, and the latest conviction put him in breach of two suspended sentences and a conditional discharge.

Robert Mochrie, for Mould, said the best thing that could be said in his favour was that he did finally plead guilty, albeit late in proceedings, sparing the victim having to give evidence at trial.

Judge Ray Singh told Mould: “While staying at this woman’s flat you got yourself in a serious, protracted and violent argument, repeatedly punching her, kicking and stamping on her, and then you armed yourself with this lethal weapon.

“You struck out towards her face and it was only because of her evasive action that the injuries were not a lot more serious.”

Describing him as, “a thug and a bully” Judge Singh imposed a prison sentence of six-years and eight months.

He also put in place an indefinite restraining order preventing Mould from contacting or approaching the victim.