A WOMAN was punched and kicked by her partner after he told her "you deserve this", a court heard.

James Peter Conway, 22, was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court for assaulting Sally Anne Howe in Kirkby Stephen during the early hours of April 20 this year.

Prosecutor Jacob Dyer told how the couple were living at the town's Briarcote. On April 19 they had been in Kirkby Stephen drinking in pubs. "The defendant became threatening towards her at that time, although there was no violence," said Mr Dyer.

The couple returned home, and ordered a pizza which Conway collected. "He became angry," said the prosecutor. "He put the pizza down and said: 'I forgot about this - you deserve this'."

"He then punched her in the face. He dragged her by the hair off the sofa. He punched her in the face and body whilst on the floor.

"He then kicked her a number of times to the head and body."

Photographs of injuries sustained by Miss Howe were later taken by police. She initially reported Conway had attacked her. However, she made a further statement in which she said she was instead hurt during an altercation with some females outside a takeaway.

During a crown court hearing in May, Conway denied a charge alleging that he assaulted Miss Howe, causing her actual bodily harm. In court he admitted the lesser offence of assaulting Miss Howe by beating. That guilty plea, said Mr Dyer, was deemed "acceptable" by the Crown Prosecution Service, which had taken a "pragmatic view" of the case.

The court heard Conway had two previous domestic assaults on Miss Howe on his record.

In mitigation Paul Tweddle said Conway, now of Carleton Road, Penrith, had been in custody since April and served the equivalent of the maximum sentence for the offence he admitted.

Imposing a four-month jail term, Recorder Paul Taylor told Conway he was set to be released immediately.