A woman attacked by her partner in Mullion was left feeling “petrified for her life”, a court has been told.

Stephen Powell was before Truro Crown Court for sentencing on Tuesday, after pleading guilty to assault, criminal damage and making threats with a knife.

The court was told the incident unfolded over two days, at the home 60-year-old Powell shared with his then-partner in Mullion.

They had been in a long-term relationship, and had known each other for more than 40 years, living together but separately within the same property.

On Saturday, August 5 this year, the victim described Powell as taking his prescribed medication and “acting oddly” all that day.

Prosecutor Ian Graham said that at around 9pm it transpired he had drunk two bottles of wine on top of the medication and “he appeared to be smashing things.”

The woman followed Powell to his bedroom and asked him to calm down, with the prosecutor adding: “He appeared to have a hammer with him at that stage.

“She stayed by the door and the defendant said, ‘Get out, get out.’”

He pushed her, causing her to fall onto the floor and bang her head, and then followed her as she walked backwards down the stairs.

Outside she called the police, who found her very upset, with bruises on her face, while Powell veered between being compliant and “very angry” with the officers.

Powell was taken into custody on the Sunday and released on Monday, August 7 on police bail and with an order not to contact the woman.

However, the woman returned from a dog walk at 12.30pm to find the living room door closed.

Mr Graham said she told police: “He came flying out the front room with a big knife in his hand.

“He grabbed me and pulled me to the bottom of the stairs. He threw me to my back.”

She described Powell as having a big kitchen knife, which he swung towards her and then grabbed her hair, telling her: “You’re going to make me lose my house.”

He was holding the knife, putting it towards her neck before pretending to cut her leg, with the woman believing he was actually going to hurt her.

She managed to calm him down and at that point noticed the window to the back door had been smashed. The police were called and Powell was arrested again.

Mr Graham said: “She describes him as leaving her feeling petrified for her life. She thought he was going to kill her.

“She says, ‘I genuinely believed he was going to kill me. I’ve never been so scared in my life’.”

Dieter Kehler, representing Powell, said they had been together for 42 years and this was the first time that the relationship had deteriorated to such a point.

“It is an address where Mr Powell has been on the rental agreement for many, many years. It is his home. It’s basically filled with his items and it has been his home for almost 31 years,” he said, adding that when it came to the criminal damage Powell felt as though he had been locked out of his own home so broke a window to get in.

He said Powell had been on remand in custody since August and in those two months he had “time to reflect”, with Mr Kehler adding: “He tells me he treats this, even though it has been such a long term relationship, as a closed chapter in his life.”

Mr Kehler also said: “It’s all happened in the heat of the moment, with little or no planning.”

Sentencing Powell, Recorder John Trevaskis said: “It’s very sad to hear of incidents of this sort occurring in the context of such a long lasting relationship, and incidents which appear to have brought the relationship to an end.

“You do, however, recognise that it is an inevitable consequence of these events and you have indicated through Mr Kehler your wish to move on.

“That is certainly, I think, a healthy and positive attitude to the situation you find yourself in.”

He described it as an offence that “certainly crosses the custody threshold” but with Powell having no previous convictions and pleading guilty at the first opportunity, he was prepared to suspend it.

For the knife offence he sentenced Powell to 12 months in prison, suspended for 24 months, with the other offences sentenced concurrently (to run at the same time). During those two years he will be under the supervision of the probation service.

Recorder Trevaskis also ordered Powell to complete 20 days of rehabilitation activities, and take part in the Building Better Relationships programme.

He issued a five-year restraining order, for Powell not to contact the woman or go within 50 metres of her.