A THUG who attacked and injured a woman in Witney told a court judge 'I didn't come to this country to hurt anyone.'

Romanian national Gheorghe Pava appeared with the help of an interpreter at Oxford Crown Court yesterday.

The 28-year-old of Fettiplace Road, Witney, pleaded guilty to the single count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Pava carried out the attack on a woman in Witney on September 21 this year.

After pleading guilty from behind the dock he apologised to presiding Judge Ian Pringle QC.

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Asked if he wanted to enter a plea now or wait for further legal advice he told the judge: "I would like to finish these proceedings.

"I am sorry for everything I did, I didn't come to this country to hurt anyone.

"I came here to work."

Once the plea had been entered Judge Pringle ordered that a pre-sentence report be prepared by the National Probation Service before sentencing.

That report will explore all sentencing options available for the offence.

Judge Pringle said: "You have pleaded guilty and I am going to ask for a pre-sentence report about you.

"It is in your interest to co-operate with the person preparing that report because that report may help you.

"But you must be very open and honest with the person who prepares the report."

The case was adjourned for the preparation of that report and Pava will be sentenced at the same court on December 13.

He was remanded in custody in the meantime.

Pava had initially, before Oxford Magistrates' Court in September, denied the count and a provisional trial date had been set. At yesterday's hearing that trial - set for March 18 next year - was formally vacated.