A “COLD-blooded” thug who carried out a drug-fuelled three-hour assault on his wife has been jailed for seven years.

Robert Hillyard, 40, told her he “might as well kill her” during the terrifying ordeal, a court heard.

He hit her with a knife and a piece of wood, fracturing her left eye socket and leaving bruises all over her body and needing eight stitches inside her mouth, the court was told.

The judge described the attack on May 26 this year as “brutal and vicious” as he jailed Hillyard, of Rogers Walk, Cotford St Luke, who had been drinking and was under the influence of amphetamine and cannabis at the time.

His wife told police it was not the first time her husband had assaulted her but she now felt he should go to prison.

Prosecutor Ellie Fargin said the cou¬ ple were staying with relatives in Somerset when an argument broke out.

Over the next three hours Hillyard hit his wife on the hands and arms with a piece of wood, then made stabbing motions at her with a bone-handled knife.

He told her that if the police became involved he would break her neck and that he “might as well kill her”.

Finally she managed to escape the house and police were called, but she told officers Hillyard had continued to punch and headbutt her outside.

Jailing him for seven years at Southampton Crown Court, Judge Peter Ralls QC noted that Hillyard had previ¬ ously been in prison for assaulting his wife but told him: “That didn’t stop you making a brutal and vicious attack.”

A pre-sentence report said that Hillyard, who the court heard had tried to kill himself in custody at Winchester Prison the night before he was sen¬ tenced, would pose a high risk to any wife or partner and described him as “cold-blooded”.

In mitigation, defence barrister Richard Griffiths told Judge Ralls that Hillyard suffered an abusive childhood and was keen to rehabilitate himself.

He added: “He is truly remorseful and he has cried himself to sleep almost every night.”