A MAN accused of trying to murder his ex-girlfriend said he “lost control” during an argument, a court has heard.

Matthew Sargent, 30, of no fixed address, was an alcoholic at the time of the attack who drank up to 24 cans of lager a day to cope with the breakdown of his relationship with Hayley Knowles.

He lost his accommodation, and his business – a garage on Five Links estate – shut in 2012 due to financial reasons.

He has admitted causing grievous bodily harm to his ex-girlfriend Hayley Knowles, 33, at her flat in Osier Drive, Noak Bridge, on August 22 last year.

He denies attempted murder.

Sargent, whowore grey jogging bottoms, a black T-shirt and trainers, told Basildon Crown Court yesterday: “I feel sick. I will never forgive myself for what I have done.”

It is alleged Ms Knowles had her head rammed into an oven while their seven-month old son was in the next room.

Yesterday, Sargent said he left the room, with Ms Knowles closing the door behind him.

He then said he accidently pushed her into the oven door when he forced the kitchen door open, which Ms Knowles had tried to keep closed with her feet.

Sargent yesterday admitted punching her to the ground before battering her with ten more punches.

He then took their child and fled.

Ms Knowles sustained 13 injuries including bleeding on the brain, and a fractured skull, cheek and jaw.

She had deep holes in both sides of her head, behind her ears and a swollen face.

Jacqueline Carey, prosecuting, accused Sargent of leaving Ms Knowles for dead.

He told the court: “I didn’t want her dead. If I wanted her dead I would have done it there and then. I wouldn’t have left her there, I would have finished her off.”

A nurse estimated Sargent was more than three times over the drink-drive limit when he committed the offence.

Sargent claimed the couple had got into a row about his wanting to stop drinking. He said Ms Knowles laughed at him which tipped him over the edge.

He added: “I just cried. I couldn’t believe what I did. I kept saying sorry to Hayley. She was covered in blood. When I hit her I didn’t know what I was intending to do. I don’t knowwhy I did it.

“I lost control.”

Ms Carey said: “A bit of laughing at you by Hayley caused you to flare into such a temper you bashed her head. I suggest you wanted to kill her and that’s why you beat her.”

Sargent claims he knocked on neighbours’ doors to help her as he left the flat.

After the attack Ms Knowles crawled from her top-floor flat before collapsing in a pool of blood outside her home.

She was rushed to Basildon Hospital and later transferred to the Royal London Hospital for surgery to stop bleeding and bruising on her brain. She had reduced hearing and in October underwent ear surgery.

The trial continues.