AN angry lover fractured his girlfriend's skull - because she came home later than agreed after a night out, a court heard.

Michael Saunders walked away after punching Linda Groves and leaving her unconscious in the street, Bolton Crown Court was told.

He was yesterday given a suspended jail sentence.

Ms Groves had been out for the evening on October 24 last year, but a row ensued with partner Saunders when she returned to her home in Kingsley Street, Halliwell, later than agreed, said Lindsay Thomas, prosecuting.

The court was told that Saunders became verbally abusive and she retaliated by hitting him on the head with a can of cider.

She was then chased into the street and around a parked car before Saunders punched her in the head, knocking her unconscious.

“Somewhat ungallantly, you walked away from the scene, leaving her prone on the ground,” Judge Elliot Knopf told him.

Ms Groves was taken to Salford Royal Infirmary where a scan revealed she had suffered a fractured skull.

The judge was told that the injury still leaves her with headaches.

Saunders, aged 49, of Bride Street, Halliwell, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm in what Peter Cunliffe, defending, described as a “momentary loss of control”.

Sentencing Saunders to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years, Judge Knopf told him: “I am prepared to accept you feel remorse for what you did and so you should.

“It was outrageous behaviour on your part.”

Saunders was also sentenced to a 7pm to 7am electronically tagged curfew for six months and was ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work.

A restraining order was made prohibiting him from contacting Ms Groves.