AN alcoholic has been spared jail for beating up his one-time 'fame hunter' partner a fourth and fifth time.

Carl Anthony Britton, 38, attacked Dawn Barry in February and May.

The pair, who both have drink problems, had met in a rehabilitation unit.

Miss Barry appeared on the TV programme Come Dine with Me and was said to have been so drunk she passed out before she served the main course.

Burnley Magistrates heard how Britton, whose father runs a jewellers' shop in Scotland Road, Nelson, hit the victim in the face, gashing her forehead, during a drinking session at his home in Gisburn Road, Barrowford.

He initially denied the allegation but later changed his plea to guilty, saying although his memory was clouded by drink, if Miss Barry said he had done it then he had.

Miss Barry, 36, had told the bench Britton had left her scarred, but she loved him.

The defendant told the justices: "I love Dawn so much and to see her so upset like that has upset me."

Britton was now said to be abstinent from alcohol and the victim was starting a detoxification programme.

Britton admitted assault causing actual bodily harm on May 11 and assault, on February 23.

He has eight previous convictions, of which three relate to the victim.

Britton was given a 12 month community order with supervision and six months alcohol treatment.

He must pay £300 costs. Sentencing, the bench told him they had taken into account the pair’s ‘strong relationship’ which they both wanted to continue.

Miss Barry, of Preston, said she and Britton, who had been together 19 months, had been chatting and watching TV, and had been drinking cider.

She said the defendant ‘smacked me in the head,’ knocking her out.

Miss Barry told the court she woke up on the floor.