A MAN launched a vicious assault on his former lover after tricking his way into his apartment by pretending to be a flatmate who had forgotten his keys.

Bolton Crown Court heard how Stephen White has been in a gay relationship with his victim but it had ended several months before the assault in July last year.

Before White forced his way into the apartment he told his victim’s flatmate, “I am going to destroy him.”

A jury was told how the attack was so ferocious that the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, feared he was going to die and the only way of saving himself was to grab 34-year-old White’s throat until he lost consciousness.

He then tied his hands together with a dressing gown cord and called police. White, of Pinfold Close, Westhoughton, admits causing grievous bodily harm but denies he did so intentionally.

Rachel Widdicombe, prosecuting, told how the victim's flatmate had been in the Star and Garter pub at around 1.30am on a Saturday morning when White, who had split from the victim a year earlier, approached him and whispered his threat.

An hour later White turned up at the apartment where the victim, who was alone, was woken by the intercom.

The victim told the jury how the caller, who had a hoodie pulled up, claimed to be his flatmate who had forgotten his keys and so he opened the door.

"At that exact second that I realised who it was he punched me in the face," the victim said.

"He casually walked into the hall, closed the door and locked it.

"Stephen was expressionless.

"The best way I can describe it is he was like a picture used on a billboard to promote a horror film.

"The calmness of it was chilling."

The victim was on the floor when White is said to have knelt beside him, put his hands around his throat and told him: "I'm going to kill you."

The victim told the court: "He said to me, 'I think about you all the time. You're in my dreams.'"

White ran into the living room where, after criticising his victim for being untidy, he then grabbed his mobile phone from the bedroom and started smashing it.

During a tussle over the phone White inflicted serious injuries on his victim.

"He was like a feral animal at that point. I was fending him off and fending him off," the victim said, adding that he realised he would die if he did not grab his attacker's neck.

As he lay on the floor with White kneeling above him the victim reached up and squeezed white's neck until he lost consciousness.

He pulled the cord out of his dressing gown and used it to tie White's hands behind his back before phoning police and fleeing the apartment. "I wanted to get out because I didn't know whether he could free himself," he said.

The trial continues.