A WOMAN with learning difficulties was left covered in bruises following a prolonged assault by her partner lasting up to half-an-hour.

William Watson repeatedly punched her on the head and body in their Greenock flat after 'losing the rag' during an argument, the sheriff court was told.

The first offender, 32 — who also has a learning disability — carried out the assault to injury at the Maple Road property in 2019.

Prosecutor John Penman said: "The accused and the witness, who was 24 at the time, had been in a relationship for five-and-a-half years.

"Both were at the locus when they became embroiled in a heated argument.

"The accused has lost the rag, there's no other way of putting it, and he has assaulted the complainer in the manner libelled.

"She had both upper and lower body bruising."

Fiscal depute Mr Penman said that the incident had been 'protracted' and had lasted between 20 and 30 minutes.

It occurred some time between July 26 and August 19 in 2019.

Photographs placed before the court showed extensive bruising covering large parts of the woman's body.

Mr Penman said: "The complainer met with the accused's sister and it was noted that she had a bloodshot eye.

"She stated that she'd been assaulted.

"Police were contacted on August 19 and officers traced the accused and the complainer at Tesco and the accused was arrested.

"Both police conveyed the complainer to the home address of the accused's sister.

"A statement was not obtained due to the complainer's learning difficulties.

"The accused made full and frank admissions regarding the assault."

The court heard that the victim has now left Inverclyde and lives with her mother in Ayrshire.

Defence lawyer Aidan Gallagher said his client has 'fragile x syndrome', a genetic disorder characterised by mild to moderate intellectual disability.

He said that people with the syndrome can have 'poor impulsive control and hyperactivity'.

Mr Gallagher added: "But Mr Watson does know right from wrong and can provide [legal] instruction."

Sheriff Joseph Hughes has deferred sentence on Watson, of Dempster Street, until May 19 so that a background report can be compiled.