A MAN locked his ex-girlfriend in his house while he checked her phone for proof she was in another relationship.

Bolton Crown Court heard how jealous Niall Briercliffe, who was holding a knife, threatened to kill her if he came across evidence.

The incident was part of an attack on his ex partner during which he kicked her to the ground, grabbed her by the hair and threatened to snub out a lit cigarette on her neck.

Her injuries included a bruised and grazed knee and ankle and three fingernails torn from her left hand.

"This is a truly dreadful injury — a horrible, sickening injury," commented the Honorary Recorder of Bolton Judge Timothy Clayson.

Briercliffe, aged 24, of Church Avenue, Deane appeared in court for sentencing via a video link from Manchester Prison.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm.

Alison Heyworth, prosecuting, told how Briercliffe and his victim had been in a relationship for two and a half years, but it ended in January this year.

She refused his requests to take him back but, on February 24, when he broke his own phone in anger, she agreed to buy him a new one.

When they met up four days later he became angry and, as she tried to leave to get a taxi, he tripped her up, causing her to fall.

He ran off with her phone and, again, kicked her to the floor, grabbing her hair and banging her head against the ground.

Desperate to get her phone back, she followed him to his home where he continued to refuse to return it.

"It seems he was jealous that she might have begun another relationship," said Miss Heyworth.

"He told her he was going to look through her phone and, if there was anything on her phone he was going to kill her."

He locked the door to stop her from leaving, but Briercliffe's step-father opened it again.

Briercliffe followed her, threatening to put out a lit cigarette on her neck, before she was rescued by people passing in a car who stopped and drove her home.

She went to hospital for treatment for her injuries.

Briercliffe, who has 26 previous convictions, including several for assaults, was arrested.

"There is a pattern of uncontrollable, violent behaviour in a number of contexts," said Judge Clayson.

Nicholas Ross, defending, said Briercliffe accepts the prosecution account of the incident.

"He very much understands that he mishandled the grievance in a very bad way," said Mr Ross.

"He went too far and he understands that. He is embarrassed that he totally mishandled the situation.

"At least he had the good sense not to use the knife or the cigarette to inflict any type of burn injury."

Judge Clayson decided to adjourn sentencing until July 13 so that an up-to-date victim impact statement can be obtained from Briercliffe's former partner. Briercliffe remains in custody in the meantime.