THE trial of a Swindon man accused of assault, rape and making threats to kill began today.

The 41-year-old, formerly of east Swindon, appeared at Bristol Crown Court.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is being held on remand in prison. He denies all the charges against him.

Bristol Crown Court heard that he is alleged to have committed no fewer than 16 rapes between 2004 and 2016 against a woman, who also cannot be named for legal reasons.

The threats to kill, so serious that they left the intended target in genuine fear for her life, are alleged to have taken place first between 2004 and 2006, and then again in 2016.

The alleged assault, which left the victim unconscious and badly bruised, dates from 2016.

Crown Prosector Simon Jones told the court that the man would allegedly use a traditional Nepalese knife - a Kukri - during the course of the rapes.

When police officers searched his house they found two Kukris, one in the kitchen and one under his mattress.

“He would use his knife to threaten his victim,” said Mr Jones.

“On one occasion he held and pulled her hair - some came out.

“He put the Kukri knife to her neck and said he would kill her - he then went on to rape her.”

Mr Jones outlined another instance in which the prosecution say the accused beat his victim until she lost consciousness.

“He took out the Kukri knife. He repeatedly punched her in the face, on the arm and on the ribs," said Mr Jones.

“The more she tried to push him away, the more aggressive he became until eventually she passed out.”

Appearing in the dock dressed in a double-breasted suit and tie, the former Gurkha sat expressionless as the jury of seven men and five women were shown a video of his alleged victim being interviewed by specially trained police officers.

Recounting one incident during which she says the accused attacked her, she said: “He was angry and started to hit me.

“He hit me in the face and I had a bruise. I was meant to go to work the next day but I had to phone and say I fell.”

Recalling another instance she told the officer that the man said: “I’m going to kill you if you don’t give it to me”.

Later she alleges he told her: “I’ll find you and kill you and destroy your family.

“I’ll cut your head off in two pieces.”

She said she took out her phone and started to try and call 999 but he grabbed it off her, preventing her from doing so.

The court heard that during his police interview, the accused denied the allegations and claimed that sex with the alleged victim was always “with consent”.

He denied forcing or coercing her. The trial continues. The accused is expected to give evidence in his defence later in the week.