A BUILDER beat up his wife when he wrongly suspected she was seeing another man, Southampton Crown Court heard.

A police officer who saw Danielle Prince after she had fled to a friend’s house described her injuries as the worst she had seen for a long time.

A judge heard that her husband Colin was so jealous and fearful that she might go off with another man that he dictated what she wore and when and if she went out.

Prosecutor Rob Welling outlined how a neighbour had seen Prince staggering on his way home. He went out again to continue drinking and may have taken some drugs.

The assault began with Prince kicking open the front door and then striking his wife several times before grabbing her hair. When she pleaded with him to stop, he told her: “I’ve only just started. You’ve seen nothing yet.”

Prince stormed off but later returned, slamming his wife’s head against the fridge and striking her so many times she lost count.

“She thought she was going to die,” said Mr Welling. “She had blood all over her face and hands.”

In an impact statement, Mrs Prince said the assault had left her feeling degraded and she could not believe she had been attacked by someone who was supposed to make her feel safe. She could no longer live in the house and didn’t feel safe alone, fearful her husband could reappear at any moment.

Prince, 24, of Cheddar Close, Southampton, admitted causing actual bodily harm.

In a letter to Judge Peter Henry, he accepted the attack was “terrible and disgusting.” He then added: “I still love my wife. I cannot switch off my feelings for her.”

Jailing him for 16 months, the judge described the assault as sustained and repeated.

“The violence and its extent was extremely bad,” he said. “It wasn’t a slap or two and merits an immediate custodial sentence.”

Under the terms of a ten-year restraining order, Prince is also banned from contacting his wife except through solicitors.