A MAN who left his lover scarred for life in a knife attack has been given a life sentence.

James Lynch attacked his girlfriend at the end of a night out. He faced the mandatory life term because he had previous convictions for serious violence.

A judge at Preston Crown Court said she could not find exceptional circumstances to prevent such a sentence, also telling the 53-year-old: "I do consider you constitute a significant risk to the public."

Lynch, formerly of Lytham Road, Blackburn, but more recently of Blackmore Road, Derby, was convicted of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm following a trial.

Mr Fraser Livesey, prosecuting at the trial, had said that in February last year an argument arose and Lynch armed himself with a kitchen knife. He slapped Annette McMurray across the face, causing a 5in scar from the mouth to the jaw. In police interview and at his trial Lynch claimed he had in fact been defending himself.

The court heard that he had two previous convictions at Scottish courts for assault in 1977 and 1987. The latter case was also a knife attack on a girlfriend, which resulted in a four-year sentence.

Defence barrister Mr Karim Sambry said the five months Lynch had spent on remand had been sobering. There had been a significant lapse of time between his offences. "There is great remorse. He wrote a letter to the victim expressing his regret and shame. This was an ugly incident on any view. Alcohol consumption is the background. He is very much a low risk to the public in future despite his previous convictions."

Recorder Teresa Pepper said many the convictions demonstrated a propensity for violence. She passed a life sentence, with four years as a determinate period, meaning he will serve at least two years in custody. He will be on licence for the rest of his life.