A BLACKBURN father beat his schoolgirl daughter with a tennis racquet.

And he threatened to kill her after discovering she was having a secret sexual relationship with a classmate, a court heard.

Burnley Crown Court was told the girl was from a traditional Asian family and would probably have been expected to have, if not an arranged marriage, an approved marriage to someone of her own culture.

But, when she was 14, she got involved with the boy, who was not of Asian heritage, and knew her family would find it very, very hard to deal with the fact her boyfriend wasn't from her culture, let alone the fact she was having sex.

The girl was found out after her shocked mother, who overheard her talking on the phone in ‘explicit’ terms about her relationship, picked up an extension and listened in.

The girl lied to her parents and claimed that the phone comments, to a friend, were a fantasy.

Her parents tried to stop the romance, regularly searched her personal items for any evidence it was continuing and her 43-year-old father repeatedly assaulted her and told her: "I am going to kill you before the community find out."

The father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had earlier admitted child cruelty, involving three incidents when the girl was 15.

He was given 21 weeks in jail, suspended for two years, with two years’ supervision and he must pay an £80 surcharge.

Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said the phone call caused a great deal of tension in the girl’s family.

Mohammed Nawaz, for the father, said he was of exemplary character.

And he was described by people in his community in warm, glowing and positive terms.

He had at first feared his daughter was being used by an older man.

The defendant had been a loving and devoted father. He was extremely contrite for his disgraceful behaviour.

The barrister added: “He didn’t want to stop her being educated and didn’t want her wed off at an early age. What he wanted for her was to get good grades and go to university.”

Passing sentence, Judge Jonathan Gibson said the defendant and his wife had discovered their 14-year-old daughter was apparently in a sexual relationship.

He said: “Many, indeed I would like to think, all parents would be horrified to find out that were the case.

“What cannot be allowed to happen is the crossing of the line, which happened in your case, of resorting to unlawful physical violence.”