A GROUNDWORKER left his partner with bruising to her face after a prank she played went wrong.

Levi Taylor and his then-girlfriend had been drinking in Colchester town centre when they got talking to another couple.

The four decided to return to his partner's home in Berechurch where the two women decided to play a practical joke and pretend they were kissing.

However tempers flared in the aftermath of the gag, and Taylor struck his partner in the face leaving her bruised.

The 27-year-old also damaged several of the items in her home including a wall, lightswitch, plates, glasses and a full-length mirror as he flew into a rage.

Neighbours called police after they heard screaming, shouting and blood in a communal area of the home - which turned out to be Taylor's.

He admitted criminal damage and assault when he appeared at Colchester Magistrates' Court.

Raph Piggott, mitigating, said Taylor had been hit with a bottle of wine before he reacted violently.

"It is his blood which is found all over the place," he said.

"He had been hit on the back of the head and he was disorientated.

"He thought it was his partner who had hit him and that is why he lashed out.

"He had to go to hospital to get his head stapled.

"It is not normally in his nature to react this way but he was unsighted and didn't know what was happening."

Magistrates ordered Taylor, of Ipswich Road, Colchester, to take on 120 hours of unpaid work as part of a 12-month community order.

He must also complete an accredited programme as recommended by the probation service.

Taylor must pay a total of £400 compensation to the victim to pay for the items he damaged and for her injuries, £90 victim surcharge and £105 costs.

He was also handed a restraining order banned from going to her home and contacting her for a year.