A MAN who doused his partner's hair with lighter fluid and threatened to kill her has been spared jail.

During the drunken row Joaquim Nogueira also 'sprayed' the flammable liquid over bedding and clothes.

A witness saw him holding a Zippo-style lighter during the outburst but a court heard it was unclear whether or not he ever lit the ignition.

Nogueira, 49, formerly of an address in Didcot, now of Croydon, appeared at Oxford Crown Court today.

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He was set to stand trial the previous day but in a last minute change of heart he pleaded guilty to one count of making a threat to kill.

Outlining the case prosecutor Giles Morrison said the incident took place at the home Nogueira shared with his partner in Didcot on March 1 this year.

In the early hours of the morning Nogueira, who was drunk, got into a 'verbal disagreement' with his partner of some 13 years.

During that row he said to her 'you can go but wherever you go I will find you and kill you.'

He was also overheard to call the woman a 'b**ch' and a 'prostitute.'

Nogueira sprayed lighter fluid on to his victim's hair as well as on to clothes which were on a bed, and bedding.

He had what was described as a Zippo-type lighter in his hand, embellished with a horse image, and the court heard there was 'discrepancy' as to whether the ignition was lit during the row.

It was, however, agreed that the lid of the device had been flicked open.

The items were removed from Nogueira and he was later charged in connection before pleading guilty this week.

Writing a statement at the time of the incident the woman said she had been left feeling 'afraid at being around' her attacker.

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At his sentencing the court went on to hear that the victim wants to continue the relationship with Nogueira, and so no restraining order was sought.

It was also revealed that Nogueira has numerous previous convictions, made up of 27 past crimes, and he was subject to a suspended sentence at the time of the offence.

In mitigation a probation officer said that Nogueira claimed to be 'ashamed and sorry' for his behaviour.

It was also described by his defence team as a 'brief incident' and Nogueira was said to be an alcoholic.

He has also been on remand in prison since March.

Sentencing, Recorder Peter Guest jailed Nogueira for a total of two years, but he suspended that sentence for two years.

As part of that he must complete the Building Better Relationships programme aimed at tackling his offending, and 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Nogueira will also undergo a six-month alcohol treatment requirement and must pay a statutory victim surcharge.

For breaching the suspended sentence order he was fined £100.