CHILDREN were heard pleading with their father to “please stop” as he carried out a vicious assault on their mother in front of them.

Francesco Varandas rained down 30 blows and punches on his former partner after attacking her as their frightened children screamed for him to stop.

The attack, which left the woman unable to see properly, was heard by a police operator after she had desperately tried to call for help after trouble flared at the home in Totton.

Prosecutor Gary Venturi told Southampton Crown Court how Varandas, 44, had been visiting the home but had started to get angry when his former partner said she didn’t want him to stay to watch television.

He said that, sensing trouble, she took her two children upstairs to one of their bedrooms and tried calling the police, but she was followed by Varandas who then launched a vicious attack.

Mr Venturi said: “She was physically thrown down on to the bed. She described blows being rained down on her whilst she was there, around 30 in number.

“The children can be heard in the background asking for daddy to stop.”

Mr Venturi said after the assault on November 15 he told his children he had to do it.

As a result of the attack the woman was left with a broken nose, two black eyes and injuries which have continued to affect her vision.

The court heard that Varandas had a previous conviction for assaulting the same woman.

Mitigating Susan Ridge said he had pleaded guilty to the offence of causing actual bodily harm at the earliest opportunity and how when he saw the extent of the injuries he had caused he was “shocked” by what he had done.

Sentencing him to two years in prison Judge Peter Henry said: “What you did was the most cowardly sort of behaviour and bullying behaviour and is quite unacceptable. Her vision has still not returned to normal and she is still having problem with that.

“This will undoubtedly have a serious impact on your children.”

Varandas was also issued with a restraining order.