A 47-year-old man, who punched his partner of 18 months with such force that it left witnesses feeling physically sick, pleaded guilty to the offence at Runcorn Magistrates Court.

Michael Mairs, of Museum Street, was accused of assaulting his partner during an altercation on New Year’s Day.

The court heard how a neighbour and her friend headed out to walk the dog shortly after midnight.

When the friends approached the home of the defendant, while walking down a nearby alley way, they began to hear shouting.

Prosecuting, Alison Warburton said: “When they looked through the window they saw the defendant screaming and shouting insults at the woman.

“He was then seen to punch her with full force to the face. This made the witness feel physically sick by what she had seen.”

The abusive insults and shouting continued from the defendant as he followed the victim out of the house.

The victim suffered from bruising and swelling to the face, which were said to be consistent with injuries caused by a punch.

The 47-year-old claimed he only pushed the victim but later pleaded guilty to punching her.

Mairs, who has 47 convictions for 114 offences claimed he didn’t hit her ‘because he loves her so much’.

It was reported that there had been previous incidents of domestic violence by Mairs but none of these had resulted in any court proceedings.

District Judge Bridget Knight said: “It is a very serious matter and part of it being so serious is that you have previous convictions.

“You are also in breach of a suspended sentence. If I grant you bail there is a real risk of physical and psychological harm.”

Mairs, who is currently serving a 12 week suspended sentence for 12 months for theft, will remain in custody until he is sentenced on January 16 at Runcorn Magistrates Court.