A MAN twice assaulted his partner after they had both been out drinking.

Blackburn magistrates heard on the second occasion Joshua Higginson elbowed the victim in the face and a doctor later told her she was lucky her eye-socket had not been fractured.

She later told police the incident had left her feeling trapped.

"I feel one day I could die at his hands," she said. "Luckily I still have the live and support of my family. I never want to see him again and I never want him to have any contact with me."

Higginson, 28, of Greenside Avenue, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to two charges of assault causing actual bodily harm. He was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison suspended for two years and made subject to a community order with a condition he attends the building better relationships programme. He was made subject to a restraining order for 12 months and ordered to pay £85 costs and £128 victim surcharge.

Nicola Morgan, prosecuting, said the victim had been out with friends and at the end of the night contacted him to see if he wanted a lift home in her taxi.

"She picked him up and they were arguing all the way home," said Miss Morgan.

"When they got home she was scared and ran upstairs and locked herself in the bathroom. He kicked the door open sandwiching her between the door and the radiator, causing bruising to her legs."

The second incident happened a week later when they had been at a party together.

Her friend asked her to go and buy some cocaine. They went out to do that and he started giving her abuse. She didn't want to go back to the party and went home and he followed shortly after.

"The argument continued and he elbowed her in the face," said Miss Morgan.

"Her vision blurred and she fell to the floor. When she confronted him he started to cry."

Gareth Price, defending, said it had been accepted by the prosecution that during the second incident she had struck the defendant first.

"He accepts that striking her in the face with his elbow was excessive in terms of self defence," said Mr Price.

"He has dealt with his drug problem but as that reduced his use of alcohol increased as is often the case.

"He has been working with Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous and in recent times has been into residential rehab."