A DUDLEY man who attacked his long-term partner with a hammer because he thought she had been unfaithful, has avoided spending time behind bars.

Mark Dennis lashed out 10 times with the hammer, leaving his victim badly bruised after telling her, "I should cave your head in."

The 48-year-old then threatened to hit her in the face and kill her, before repeatedly striking her legs with the weapon, leaving her in considerable pain.

"You thoroughly deserve to go to prison for what you did," Judge Martin Walsh told Dennis at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

But he ruled it would be far more productive for him to receive assistance from the probation service to prevent a repetition of the offending.

"The injuries you caused were unpleasant but they could have been much more severe," the judge added.

"This was a sustained attack on a vulnerable victim in her own home."

Dennis, of Broom Road, Wrens Nest, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm and he was given a 12 month jail term, suspended for two years.

The judge placed him on supervision for two years and made a five year restraining order, forbidding him from having any contact with his former partner.

Mark Phillips, prosecuting, said the pair had been in a volatile relationship for 13 years and Dennis became jealous after he had been out drinking.

He accused her of having affairs and then checked her mobile phone to see if there were any text messages from other men before becoming abusive and arming himself with the hammer.

The woman, who told police her ordeal lasted for about 20 minutes, said in a victim impact statement the attack had left her fearful and frightened.

Rashid Mohammed, defending, said Dennis accepted it was an unpleasant incident but stressed he had little recollection of what happened because of the alcohol he had consumed.

He said the only reason Dennis picked up the hammer was to frighten his partner and it had never been his intention to cause her any harm.

"He acknowledges the relationship is now well and truly over," said Mr Mohammed.

"He recognises his wrong doing and, since the incident, he has refrained from alcohol."