A Warwick man lost his temper during a row with a neighbour and ended up lunging at him with a knife as their terrified children looked on.
Joseph Considine, aged 25, who at the time of the incident lived in Market Street in the town centre, at first pleaded not guilty to the relatively new offence of threatening a person with a bladed article.
But he changed his plea to guilty during a pre-trial hearing.
Prosecutor Philip Brunt said that Considine and his then neigbhour, Steven Bicknell, lived in a block of maisonettes with their respective girlfriends and children.
Warwick Crown Court heart that on January 6, at around 6pm , Mr Bicknell was standing outside his home having a cigarette when Considine walked past with his girlfriend and child and swore at his neighbour.
When Mr Bicknell simply shrugged off the abuse, saying “whatever”, Considine became wound up and angry and began hurling abuse and threats at Mr Bicknell, threatening to knock his head off.
Mr Brunt told the judge: “Mr Bicknell had part of a chair near his door. He picked it up and said if Considine came into his home he would defend himself.
“Mr Bicknell’s partner and two-year-old child were behind him, with the child upset and holding his leg. One of Considine’s children was also there and very upset.”
At that point, Mr Brunt said: “Considine then pulled out from his waistband what has been described as a combat knife with a seven to ten inch blade and he then lunged at Mr Bicknell.”
The court heard the defendant appeared to be trying to stab Mr Bicknell, who managed to move out of the way. Another neighbour called the police as Considine’s girlfriend pulled him away.
When police searched the defendant’s work van they found a knife with an eight-inch blade and later learned that Considine had previous convictions for affray, including once brandishing a machete as he and others chased a man up a road.
In mitigation Daniel Oscroft said there was some evidence that Mr Bicknell was not wholly innocent in the matter - there had been simmering resentment between the pair.
Considine had spent eight months in prison after failing to turn up at an earlier hearing. Judge Sylvia de Bertodano’s sentenced him to 20 months, saying: “It doesn’t matter who started it but it is clear this escalated into violence. He (Mr Bicknell) produced a chair leg but you then pulled out a very large knife and threatened him with it...all in the presence of small children who were terrified.”