Spurned man brandished axe outside Coundon pub after relationship break-up

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The Northern Echo: Static HTML image by , Chief Reporter (Durham)

A MAN in emotional turmoil after he was spurned by his girlfriend brandished an axe outside a pub where she was with friends.

Durham Crown Court heard that Michael Dale Wilson was upset when she ended the 19-month relationship on September 30.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, told the court: “She made it clear it was over and not to be resumed.”

But Wilson began sending her increasingly abusive and threatening text messages while she was with friends at the Durham Ox pub, in Coundon, near Bishop Auckland later that day.

Mr Dryden said by 10.20pm he threatened to come to the pub with an axe.

One of the group in the pub, Matthew James Ayre, went out fearing Wilson was heading for the premises.

Mr Ayre tried to calm Wilson, who said he was sick of people interfering in his relationship.

“He produced a 12ins-bladed axe, but Mr Ayre persuaded him to throw it away, which he did, discarding it in some bushes.”

Mr Dryden said a young woman emerged from the pub and there was a verbal confrontation, which resulted in Wilson retrieving the axe, waving it and threatening to damage a parked car.

Police were called and Wilson was arrested nearby, while the axe was found in the bushes.

Wilson’s mobile phone was seized, revealing the threatening texts sent to his girlfriend.

The court heard that 23-year-old Wilson, of Oaklea Green, West Auckland, has remained in custody for four months since the incident.

He admitted affray, putting a person in fear of violence and threatening to cause criminal damage at a previous hearing.

Sentence was adjourned for medical assessment to be made.

Scott Smith, mitigating, told the court the report confirmed Wilson was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder from a young age, but he said there was no history of violence on his record.

Mr Smith said Wilson has rekindled the relationship with his girlfriend who has visited him in custody.

He said Wilson was “hurting at the break-up” at the time, but is now highly remorseful for his actions that night.

Judge Simon Hickey said as Wilson has spent four months behind bars, he could avoid passing an immediate custodial sentence.

He imposed a 12-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, with an order that Wilson should perform 100 hours’ unpaid work.

Judge Hickey also praised 21-year-old Mr Ayre for his actions in trying to calm the situation and gave him £100 from public funds.

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