A CONTROLLING and "dangerous" man who deliberately scalded his partner's head with boiling water while inflicting appalling violence on her has been jailed for 15 years.

Lee McCutcheon, 28, had taken heroin and cocaine before returning to the Stonegarth flat in Carlisle he shared with his girlfriend on March 17.

McCutcheon accused her of stealing - which she denied - before punching her in the head and dragging her around the property by her hair. He also attacked her with a wooden mallet - an assault described by another man present who rejected an invitation to join in the shocking violence as "kneecapping".

The badly-hurt woman later told a nurse how McCutcheon also calmly walked over to a microwave and boiled water for two minutes, boasting that he'd added sugar to the bowl, before sadistically pouring it over her head - pausing halfway through to see how she reacted.

Carlisle Crown Court heard the dressing gown-wearing victim had drifted in and out of consciousness before fleeing through a first floor window, followed by the other man who found the door to the flat was locked.

The woman - seen by police to be "hysterically crying and shaking" - was taken by ambulance to a Newcastle hospital, and detained in a specialist burns unit for a week.

Her scalp was noted to be bleeding and blistered, large parts of her hair were cut away and a doctor who also saw multiple bruises thought initially the head and shoulder burns covered around 10 per cent of her body.

Although she told police and the nurse in the aftermath that McCutcheon had inflicted the injuries, she later changed her story and insisted she had self-harmed during a court trial. McCutcheon denied causing grievous bodily harm with intent, two counts of false imprisonment and two charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by plotting with a friend, 33-year-old Christopher Lowe, to derail the prosecution by trying to persuade the woman and the other man present in the flat that night not to assist police.

But McCutcheon was found guilty, unanimously, of all the charges he faced by a jury today.

Jailing McCutcheon, and imposing an extended four-year licence period, Recorder Jeremy Lasker observed: "You subjected her to a sustained and wholly gratuitous assault." Recorder Lasker concluded: "You are, in my view, a very dangerous man indeed."

Lowe, of Cumberland Court, Carlisle, admitted two counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and was jailed for 27 months.