THE violent past of a cage fighter accused of murdering a Hampshire dad was laid bare in court.

Winchester Crown Court heard how Damon Wright had nine previous convictions related to violence, including trying to suffocate his pregnant partner and punching her in the stomach.

The 32-year-old, who is on trial for the murder of Kevin Wyeth, admitted in front of the jury that he has a short fuse and that he had resorted to violence when he didn’t get his own way, as he gave evidence from the witness box for a second day yesterday.

Prosecutor Nicholas Haggan QC listed the defendant’s previous convictions, including one relating to the scaffolder strangling his exwife until she became unconscious and then assaulting two police officers who came to her assistance.

A number of the convictions also involved Wright punching his victims in the face, something which Mr Haggan claimed Wright did to Kevin in August last year with such force that “the whole of the front of his face was detached from the rest of his skull”.

Cross-examining Wright, Mr Haggan also asked him about his cage fighting.

Wright admitted that it was “extremely violent” and that he knew that it was “extremely dangerous” when someone was knocked out.

But Wright denied that he took part in cage fights because he enjoyed inflicting pain.

Earlier in the day, the court heard how Wright, who was seeing Mr Wyeth’s ex-partner Samantha Slater, did not believe that the Saints groundsman had suffered any injury after he had knocked him unconscious and left him in the alleyway in Woolston.

When asked by his defence barrister Nigel Lickley QC why he had called a taxi to Defender Road, where he had left Mr Wyeth, before an ambulance, Wright said: “I didn’t think it was that serious, the situation.

“I felt that the taxi would turn up to Kevin’s location and see Kevin, putting their lights on to see the numbers of the houses and see Kevin and contact somebody themselves.”

He added that he hoped the taxi driver would “see Kevin, get out, give him a nudge and get him up and wake him up from being unconscious”.

Wright, from Poole, denies murder, claiming that he acted in self-defence after Mr Wyeth threw the first punch.