A MAN has walked free from court after admitting punching a woman unconscious and leaving her scarred for life.

Michael Roy John Bennison, 26, was spared jail after York Crown Court heard he suffered from post-traumatic stress after being stabbed in 2006.

Bennison, a self-employed decorator from Huntington Road in York, had become involved with the woman after meeting her on a social networking website.

Stephanie Hancock, prosecuting, said Bennison had a key for the woman’s flat while doing decorating work earlier this year.

He had been drinking and exchanged a number of texts with the woman while she was on a night out, but decided to go to her home following a number of unanswered calls.

After letting himself, in he flew into a rage, smashing a door from its hinges before leaving again.

Miss Hancock said: “She called him and asked for the key back. He came back and threw his mobile phone against a mirror then grabbed the complainant’s phone and smashed it.

“He punched her once on the left cheek and the complainant fell unconscious to the floor.”

Instantly filled with remorse, Bennison apologised before calling an ambulance and leaving his victim with neighbours.

It was revealed in court that Bennison had previous convictions for battery and criminal damage in 2007, while in September last year he was convicted of affray and criminal damage.

In mitigation, Nick Barker said: “This defendant is entitled to every credit that can be afforded to any defendant.

“His conduct after this offence shows that he recognised he had done wrong and expressed that remorse to the complainant and acted in an appropriate manner.

“He was on medication for depression and anxiety and should not have been drinking in combination with the medication.”

Bennison admitted actual bodily harm and criminal damage. Judge Colin Burn acknowledged the defendant was being treated for post-traumatic stress following the stabbing incident and noted his offences had come after that. He said: “It may be that that is something that’s causing you to lose it – you simply can’t control yourself. I’m not sure it’s necessarily the answer to send you to prison.”

He handed Bennison an 11-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, a two-year supervision order and told him to attend an intensive domestic abuse programme.

He was also ordered to pay his victim £800 in compensation.