AN ANGRY former boyfriend threatened to "slash" his ex-partner's face during a heated exchange when she was returning his belongings, a court heard.

Robert Smith, 37, denied making the comment when his case came up before magistrates in Carlisle but he did plead guilty to an offence of common assault on the woman on September 1.

the defendant, of Leabourne Road, Currock, had been in a relationship with the woman for nine weeks, magistrates heard.

After he moved to the home of a mutual friend, she agreed to drop off his belongings in a cardboard box, said prosecutor Glenn Anderton.

It was as she was at the back door of her car, retrieving the box from the back seat, that Smith came out of the house and pushed her against the car, grabbing her by the neck with one hand.

"His left hand squeezed her neck, causing a small bruise," said the prosecutor.

The lawyer said Smith also punched the woman's arm while she was shouting and screaming at him to get off her. She eventually broke free and got into the car, locking herself inside. The woman claimed that as he left Smith told her he would come back and slash her face in front on her relatives.

In her victim statement, the woman said she felt physically shaken up by what happened.

She did not feel safe any longer at her home and worried about what might happen if he came back.

When he was interviewed by police, Smith admitted getting close to her face but he denied making the slash comment.

"He accepted there was no excuse for his behaviour," added Mr Anderton.

Steven Marsh, for Smith, said the defendant, a warehouse operative who has 12 convictions on his criminal record, including some for violence in 2006, was not proud of the way he had behaved. "He doesn't accept that final comment," said the lawyer.

He added that the defendant suffered from long-term depression.

Magistrates said what happened was a sustained assault in a domestic setting. But they accepted that Smith was now taking steps to address his alcohol use. They imposed a 12 month community order, with 100 hours of unpaid work, £100 compensation to the victim, £85 costs, and a £90 victim surcharge.