A MACHETE thug who punched and slapped a woman and delivered a running kick while she was on the floor has been jailed.

Preston Crown Court heard victim Heather Butler came across drunk defendant Michael Cooper at her ex-boyfriend’s house, where she had gone to after her own night out.

Prosecuting, Haseeb Yousef, said Ms Butler described how Cooper pulled out a machete from his trousers before leaving the house in the early hours of October 28.

Mr Yousef said Cooper returned 20 minutes later when Ms Butler was asleep in a bedroom, telling her to leave.

The court heard Cooper said he had paid to stay in the room and he was going to slap her.

Ms Butler’s former partner went into the room to try to defuse the situation and it was when the victim tried to squeeze through a gap between the pair that she was attacked.

Mr Yousef said: “The defendant put his arm out and slapped her. He used force to cause her to fall on the floor. She fell back onto the landing.

“After that, while she was on the floor, the defendant then punched her in the face. He then took a run up and kicked her in the face. There were two kicks in the face. The first one was after the punch. After the first kick she tried to sit back up. He kicked her to the face again.”

The court heard that when the father of Ms Butler’s ex-partner arrived at the house in Preston and told Cooper to leave, he responded by saying: “Watch it. You’re dead. They’re going to come for you.”

In a victim impact statement, Ms Butler said she was frightened to leave her home and has suffered panic attacks. Cooper, 30, of Derby Street, Colne, was found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Defending, David Traynor said his client’s mother feared her son would be attacked if he went to prison. He said his client, who turned to drugs after his promising football career was curtailed following a motorbike accident, was attacked with a snooker ball in a sock in prison by the killers of his Preston murder victim friend Jon-Jo Highton. Cooper was later stabbed in the stomach and leg by men who he believes were linked to that same gang.

Mr Traynor said: “Your Honour has a complex defendant before you. A defendant who could go either way with his life.

“I would urge your Honour to pass a constructive sentence that would push him away from criminality and seeks to protect the public in that way.”

Recorder Andrew Nuttall jailed Cooper for 18 months.