A FORMER jockey used "gratuitous and alarming violence" in an attack which left his partner with a broken cheek, nose and tooth, a court heard yesterday.

Richard Hambleton, 63, launched the attack on his then partner Jacky Platts, 58, following a dinner party.

Prosecutor Michael Jones described the attack on Mrs Platts, which left her with a fractured left cheekbone, fractured nose, a laceration beneath her left eye, a fractured tooth, bruising to her left eye and swelling on the left side of her face, as "gratuitous and alarming violence."

Cardiff Crown Court heard the couple separated in 2010 after 19 years together. Mrs Platts described the first five or six years as happy. After that, Mrs Platts said Hambleton, of Mynyddislwyn, near Blackwood, became jealous, accusing her of having affairs.

In January 2001, the couple had Mrs Platt's ex-husband and his new partner over for dinner during which Mrs Platts said she would never get married again.

That night, Mrs Platts went to bed, followed a short time later by Hambleton, who came into the room shouting at her.

Mrs Platts couldn't recall what happened next but did remember drifting in and out of consciousness and blood running down her throat.

Mr Jones said Hambleton took her to Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital where he said to her "sorry, I never realised I could do so much harm with my bare hands and fists."

The couple reconciled and in May last year, when they had separated, Mrs Platts reported the attack to police.

Defending, Matthew Roberts said Hambleton showed "instant remorse" after the attack and said whatever the rights and wrongs of the case, Hambleton's age, mobility and health problems, including a minor stroke, meant this court case had placed "great stress" on him.

Hambleton pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and a second charge of common assault was ordered to lie on file.

He was given a 12-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, a six-month community order and six-month supervision requirement.

A restraining order was also imposed, banning Hambleton from contacting Mrs Platts, directly or indirectly, approaching her or going with 500 metres of her home in Llanvaches.

Speaking after the sentencing, Mrs Platts said: "I hope that this sentence will encourage other women to stop putting up with abuse whether it is physical, mental or verbal.

"I would like to thank Newport police for the support they have given me and hope that other women will have the courage to speak out and ask for help."