A drunk man who crept into his former partner's house at 2am and headbutted her has been spared a jail sentence.

Preston Crown Court heard how on February 16, Mark McArthur, who was extremely intoxicated, left his victim with a nasty cut above her eye which needed hospital treatment.

Prosecuting, Beth Pilling told the court that the woman was woken at around 2am by a noise and when she rose to see what was happening, saw McArthur at the top of the stairs.

Ms Pilling said: "She was surprised to see the defendant and described him as being drunk.

"She asked him to leave but he refused to do so.

"He then came towards her and headbutted her, making contact with her eyebrow."

Ms Pilling told the court there had been six children present at the time of the incident, including the defendant's step-daughter, who came down the stairs to assist her mother.

An 11-year-old child was also in the house and following the attack, phoned her mother, who took the victim to hospital. McArthur was arrested the following day.

Ms Pilling added: "Although there were children in the property none of them witnessed the assault."

Defending McArthur, Ellen Shaw said that her client, who has 12 convictions for numerous different offences, pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

She said: "In terms of his previous convictions, none relate to domestic violence, and he is very lucky that the victim has provided a detailed letter to the court explaining their situation and how Mr McArthur behaved as a parent, especially to one of their children, who has autism.

"He is extremely remorseful and admits that the majority of his offending relates to alcohol.

"His life fell apart when he was charged with drink-driving and he lost his relationship and became depressed.

"However, during lockdown he hasn't been able to go out in a social situation and hasn't had a drink in over two weeks."

Judge Simon Newell said: "You have been drunk in charge of your children, drunk in charge of a car, and you got drunk and attacked your ex-partner.

"For your sake, and for the sake of others, if you've got this level of alcohol dependency it's better that you don't take drink.

"It's not a question of cutting down, but finishing with it.

"I am going to give you a chance today and you should take it. If you don't, you will not get a second chance."

McArthur, 38, of Hastings Close, Blackburn, had pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He was handed an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, given a four-month tagged curfew and a nine-month alcohol treatment requirement.