MARTIAL arts black belt Karl Merry, 49, almost died when his partner plunged a kitchen knife into his stomach in a deliberate attack, a jury was told yesterday, Wednesday.

After stabbing him, Lydia Beavis, 50, called an ambulance to her Stroud home and paramedics found him lying unconscious with 'his innards protruding from his stomach,' Gloucester crown court heard.

Mr Merry had to undergo four operations to save his life and has since made a remarkable recovery, the jury was told.

Mrs Beavis, of Upper Leazes, Stroud, denies wounding Mr Merry with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm on April 26 last year.

She also denied an alternative less serious offence of unlawful wounding.

Mrs Beavis was at times in tears in the dock as the case unfolded and she was given tissues and water by court staff.

The court was told that she and Mr Merry, a dad of two, were living together at the time of the alleged attack and making plans for their wedding in Crete last September.

Prosecutor Nick Fridd said Mrs Beavis called the ambulance to her four storey house just before 9pm.

"She came to the door wearing only a ski jacket and no other clothing," he said. "She asked the ambulance people to help her.

"Mr Merry was in the kitchen. He was lying on his side with a wound to his stomach.

"He was unconscious. There was kitchen paper pressed to his wound.

"First aid was rendered and he regained consciousness. You will hear evidence that his innards were protruding from the wound.

"A large black handled kitchen knife had been used and there was blood connecting it to what had happened."

Mr Fridd said Mr Merry was rushed to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital with life threatening injuries and stayed there for a considerable time, undergoing a number of difficult operations 'to put him back together.'

Mrs Beavis was arrested and police carried out house to house enquiries. They ascertained from neighbours that although the walls of the houses were 'paper thin' there had no sound of an argument going on before the stabbing.

But Mrs Beavis told police there had been a row and he had been moving towards her making loud and aggressive noises.

"I pushed him back, forgetting I had the knife in my hand," she stated. "He was shouting and it had been going on for hours."

Mr Fridd said the Crown did not accept her account of what happened. He described it as implausible because Mr Merry's martial arts expertise would have enabled him to avoid being stabbed and disarm her.

But Mr Fridd conceded that Mr Merry could not give an account of exactly what happened because following his serious injury and treatment he had no memory of that afternoon and evening.

In evidence Mr Merry conceded he had been an alcoholic in his younger life and he accepted that at the time of the stabbing he may have drunk 10 cans of Guinness, as the defence suggest. He also conceded he had a past conviction for a domestic common assault.

He had wanted the relationship with Mrs Beavis to work and he had been looking forward to their wedding, he added.

He said he had not suffered any defensive injuries - only the single stab wound to the stomach.

The trial continues today.