A former soldier who saw active service in Iraq has been jailed for two years for hitting a woman five times over the head with a cricket bat.

Darren Thomas, 32, set about Gemma Green after inviting her back to his flat at Swarland Grove, Little Horton, Bradford, in the early hours of October 27 last year.

Thomas was yesterday set to stand trial at Bradford Crown Court accused of wounding Miss Thomas with intent to cause her grievous bodily harm.

His plea of guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful wounding was accepted by the Crown in the afternoon.

Prosecutor Richard Butters said it was “a nasty, unprovoked attack” on Miss Green who Thomas met that night at a taxi rank after she had a row with her father.

He invited her back to his flat where his girlfriend and another man were present.

All had been drinking and they began playing cards.

Thomas fell out with his girlfriend and she stormed out of the flat.

“Without reason, he picked up a weapon, a cricket bat, and struck Miss Green over the head at least five times,” Mr Butters said.

Thomas told her: “You’re not leaving here alive. I’m going to kill you.”

When the police arrived, Thomas claimed that Miss Green was injured before she arrived at the flat.

She was treated at Bradford Royal Infirmary for a deep cut over her right eyebrow. The wound needed stitching and she was left with a large scar.

Thomas had four previous convictions for battery and one for causing actual bodily harm, the court heard.

Jailing Thomas, Judge Colin Burn described the offence as “a brief but vicious assault” and noted that it had left Miss Green with an unpleasant injury.

In mitigation, Thomas’s barrister, Ekwall Tiwana, had told the court that he was in drink when he attacked Miss Green and he was very sorry.

He served in the Army for six years, seeing service in Northern Ireland and Iraq.

After returning to civilian life, he took drugs and alcohol to help him cope with family tragedy.