A LEIGH man jailed for five years for repeatedly assaulting his partner was branded a "monster" and a danger to women by a judge.

Martin Jamie Laird stabbed his former girlfriend Anne O'Donnell in the head, narrowly missing her eye, deliberately fractured her finger, held a knife to her throat, punched her and pulled her hair out.

His aggression was said to be caused by the death of his father and his subsequent heavy drinking of super strong cider.

Laird, aged 28, formerly of Imperial Drive was due to stand trial at Bolton Crown Court for wounding mum-of-one Miss O'Donnell with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, but changed his plea to guilty just before the trial was due to start. He also admitted common assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm against the same woman and was also resentenced for four assaults occasioning actual bodily harm committed previously against Miss O'Donnell. He was resentenced because he had committed the later assaults in breach of a three year probation order imposed for the four assault offences.

Judge Roberts said he had acted " like a monster" to his partner and that she had been left with emotional and physical scars resulting from the stab wound to her head.

Branding him a continuing danger to women on his release, Judge Roberts imposed a longer than commensurate sentence allowed for under section 80 of the Criminal Courts Sentencing Act 2000 in order to protect the public.

Prosecutor Tina Landale told the court that Laird and O'Donnell had been in a relationship for more than four years and had lived together for five months.

Laird was always aggressive and abusive to her when he had been drinking and following a row over turning the TV down he dragged O'Donnell to the floor by her hair and punched her. He later punched her and when she refused to have sex with him he stabbed her in the head with a bread knife. If she had not turned away quickly the knife would have entered her eye. She was later assaulted twice more after he had abused her. During the last assault she had been talking to her mother on the phone and he began to hit her and pulled back her finger, fracturing it in the process.

Her father heard the fight and drove round to her house and, despite being disabled with arthritis, managed to stop Laird hitting her.

The court heard he committed the offences while on probation for four previous assaults, where he had punched her and bitten her breast, held a sharp metal comb and then a breadknife to her throat, punched her in the head and stabbed her in the shoulder with a knife.

Defending Andrew Marrs said Laird's mother had died when he was two and he had been brought up by his father until he died of a sudden heart attack when Laird was 24. He had failed to cope with his father's death properly, had received no counselling and turned to strong drink to drown his sorrow.