During the early hours of December 30 last year, Anthony Smith broke into the woman's home and caused significant damage within the house.
He took photos on his phone and sent them to the victim, who was not in the property at the time.
Realising he was in her property, she returned home with concerns he had taken an overdose.
But when she arrived he threatened her with a knife and she suffered injuries to her hands as she tried to stop the attack.
Smith, 25, then made off from the property with £80 in cash.
Detective Constable Rosie Dixon said: "Smith has caused a significant amount of distress to the victim and her family. Your home is a place where you should feel safe and Smith has completely violated any trust with the victim and broken the law.
"As difficult as this has been for the victim, she did the right thing reporting him to the police and hopefully now he will see the severity of his actions."
Smith, of Richmond Road, South Shields pleaded guilty at Newcastle Crown Court two counts of section 47 assault, burglary dwelling, criminal damage and threats to kill.
He is due to be sentenced on July 15.
If you have been a victim of domestic violence or abuse contact police on 101, or 999 in an emergency. Victims can also contact Victims First Northumbria on 0800 011 3116 who will give independent advice and support.
For more information about domestic abuse and violence advice search Northumbria Police online. All webpages have a 'hide page' function and there is guidance on deleting your internet history. If you have concerns about using your own devices, contact a close friend or family member to use their device or use the internet access at a local library.