A woman who stabbed her partner, cutting his leg down to the bone, was spared jail after a judge said she needed help more than punishment.

Gena Peel, 29, had forced a door to get at victim Anthony Altree after they had rowed over her debts.

Peel stabbed him once in the shin, leaving him bleeding profusely. She then expressed remorse and regret for the violence and owned up to the police, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Mr Altree suffered a ‘nasty’ wound, which was 4cm long, and he had to have four internal and six external stitches.

The couple are now said to be back together and Mr Altree, who had accompanied the defendant to court had written the judge a letter.

Peel, who has a learning disability, could have been facing a jail term, but Judge Graham Knowles QC, said she had “lived a life of real difficulty”, and she was very much younger than her 29 years.

The judge said he had read a report from a psychologist, which stated the defendant was extremely vulnerable and that prison would have a very, very damaging effect upon her.

Judge Knowles said: “This is a woman who needs help more than she needs punishment. She could have done with help a long time before now.”

The defendant, of Berkeley Close, Nelson, had admitted wounding. She was given a three-year community order with three years’ supervision.

Charles Brown, prosecuting, said the defendant and victim had argued over the fact Peel was deeply in debt on October 23, last year.

Peel suggested to her partner he should leave if that was the way he felt, and he said he would and was taking the dog.

The prosecutor added: “She went into the kitchen and armed herself with a knife.

“Mr Altree realised what was going on, went into one of the bedrooms and shut himself in. He attempted to keep the door closed. He was not successful.

“She got her head and arm around the door and stabbed him in the right shin.”

On the doorstep, Anthony Altree met a health worker, who had been visiting a neighbour and an ambulance was called.

Mr Brown said the wound suffered by the victim went through all the soft tissue to the covering of the bone.

Keith Harrison, defending, said: “She realises she has put herself in real jeopardy.”