A MAN partially blinded his girlfriend with a biscuit hurled directly into her eye during an argument in front of her seven-year-old daughter.

Liam Greenhalgh, aged 21, had been in an abusive nine month relationship with a 31-year-old mother of two, during which time he "terrorised" her, leaving her like "an empty shell".

Bolton Crown Court heard how the first few months of the couple's relationship were "relatively happy".

However, in September 2018, when Greenhalgh moved in with the woman and her daughter and 14-year-old son, things started to go down hill.

Prosecuting, Brian Berlyne said: "The relationship began to deteriorate when Mr Greenhalgh began to demonstrate his short temper."

During disagreements Greenhalgh would "grab the woman by the throat" and "regularly slapped her face".

He would also call her "derogatory names" and "shout vile and hurtful things", and stopped her from seeing her family.

His actions caused the behaviour of the two children to change and saw them spending more time drawing and in their bedrooms, the court heard.

In the most serious incident, the woman had awoken in the night to comfort her daughter who had trouble sleeping, when Greenhalgh threw a biscuit, which struck her directly in her left eye.

Mr Berlyne said: "She experienced excruciating pain instantly and said she saw a bright light."

After attending hospital the woman was diagnosed with a form of partial blindness in the eye, including sensitivity to light and headaches.

In another incident, during a trip to Wales, Greenhalgh confronted the woman about messages on her mobile phone from a man ­— a friend of her sisters ­— and began "shouting and screaming at her".

The argument continued in the car and Greenhalgh "caused concern to the children" due to his erratic driving, Mr Berlyne said.

On January 2 this year the couple went away again, to Amsterdam, for Greenhalgh's 21st birthday.

While there another violent incident between the couple ensued when Greenhalgh slapped the woman across the face.

After the trip the woman decided she had to end the relationship, however Greenhalgh said the only way she would get away from him "was to give him £10,000."

In a victim impact statement the woman said that her "lust for life had been taken from her and her children".

She added that she had changed "from a positive, happy person to an empty shell living day by day".

The couple's relationship continued for a further month, until they had another argument on February 10, during which Greenhalgh pulled a wardrobe door off and smashed a mirror.

He then bit the woman's finger and pushed her, causing her to fall, the court heard.

She kicked out at him and he retaliated, kicking her in the ribs, in sight of the two children.

When the woman's son stepped in Greenhalgh "threatened to get a friend to smash his face in", Mr Berlyne said.

Following the incident the son contacted his grandparents who came and took the children away, and the woman also decided to leave the relationship.

Greenhalgh was arrested the same day and police found him in possession of CS gas and pepper spray that he had bought in Wales.

Mr Berlyne noted that Greenhalgh "admitted to having a short fuse and said he suffered from anxiety and paranoia exacerbated by cannabis use."

He also told the court that Greenhalgh had previously exhibited similar "coercive and controlling" behaviour in another relationship.

During this earlier relationship with another woman, Mr Berlyne said, Greenhalgh "pulled out a machete in the living room. He did not use it against her but waved it around and caused damage to furniture."

Defending, Colin Buckle, highlighted that Greenhalgh was an "immature 21-year-old" whose actions and attitude to relationships were affected by his age, ADHD and "poor schooling and upbringing".

However he said that during the court proceedings Greenhalgh had "demonstrated a maturity and in fact a courage that has been seriously lacking in him until this point."

Mr Buckle further noted hopes that Greenhalgh's "appearance before this court and his appearance before the probation service may mark a change in him."

"He says he wants to to make a change and today take responsibility for his actions and there is evidence of that," Mr Buckle added.

Greenhalgh was handed a two-year suspended prison sentence, for GBH, controlling and coercive behaviour and possession of CS gas pepper spray; on the condition that he takes part in the Building Better Relationships programme.

He must also undertake 30 days rehabilitation work and 180 hours community service, and is subject to a restraining order banning him from going to addresses associated with his former partner and her children.

Sentencing, Judge Martin Walsh said: "It seems to me that you are immature in nature, and your attitude towards relationships is no doubt majorly coloured by your background and upbringing, you richly deserve to go to prison today."

However Judge Walsh noted that it would be in the public interest, and that of Greenhalgh, if he were to follow the probation service's guidance and allow the defendant to "benefit from supervision in the community".

He added: "I want to make it absolutely crystal clear, if you fail to comply with this order you will be back to crown court and back to me."