A DELIVERY driver slashed his partner’s face with a knife as a “volatile” relationship erupted in violence, a court heard.

Craig Spencer, 51, has now been told he must stay away from his former lover for five years after appearing before Bolton Crown Court.

Prosecutor Simon Barrett said Spencer had been “controlling” and “abusive” during the course of the relationship.

On April 26, after his partner had asked him not to come around, said Mr Barrett, Spencer effectively forced his way into her property.

Later after both had been drinking, a row began and the woman armed herself with a knife to defend herself, the court heard.

In a struggle the knife caused a “nick” to the defendant’s ear, Mr Barrett told the court.

“The defendant took the knife from her and caused a wound to the cheek by slashing her face,” he added.

Spencer was later arrested and released under investigation over the incident, the court heard.

Mr Barrett said on August 15 the pair became embroiled in another row, which saw Spencer hit her with a training shoe and drag her across a room, causing bruising.

The court was told the defendant now accepted the relationship was over.

He accepted picking up the knife “ in the heat of the moment” but denied he intended to cause any serious harm.

Spencer, of St James Street, Farnworth, admitted to charges of wounding and assault.

He was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence, with 25 rehabilitation activity days and an instruction to attend a ‘building better relationships’ course.

Passing sentence, Recorder Ciaran Rankin also imposed a five-year restraining order, preventing Spencer from contacting his former partner, He must also pay her £1,000 in compensation.

Mr Recorder Rankin said: “You are 51 and really should know better”.