A DRUNKEN biker “gone mad” appeared at a former friend's front door wielding an axe above his head, terrifying his partner, a court heard.

Petrified Katie Scorer shouted at Gareth Laidman to put the weapon down and he did so, throwing it away, Durham Crown Court was told.

But Laidman went on to attack and threaten to kill her partner Thomas Barton; break into their shed; and steal a £2,000 Honda motorbike.

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The frenzied episode played out over March 5 and 6, with Laidman turning up at Ms Scorer’s home, in Sherburn Village, County Durham, three times over 12 hours.

One on occasion Laidman’s father appeared, saying his son had “gone mad”.

When Laidman was arrested at a house in Sherburn Village a few days later, police found him hiding under insulation in the attic.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, told the court Laidman and Mr Barton had been friends, sharing an interest in motorbikes.

But Laidman blamed his friend for the theft of his bike from Ms Scorer’s home – something Mr Barton denied any involvement with.

On the day Laidman first appeared at lunchtime, Ms Scorer opened her front door to find him with an axe raised above his head.

Laidman asked Mr Barton to return some of his property, but then grabbed him round the neck, leading to a struggle in which Laidman hit Mr Barton with a wooden bike stand before making it off with it.

Laidman returned at 10pm, pulling the lock from a shed with a metal bar and threatening to kill his former friend.

His third and final visit came at midnight, when he cut through a chain and stole the Honda.

Laidman, 24, of Oak Green, Brandon, initially told police he had been at work that day, but later admitted possession of the axe, attempted robbery of the motorbike and two counts of burglary.

Donald McFaul, mitigating, said Laidman intended to use the axe on the shed, rather than against any person, but realised what he had done was wrong and was drunk at the time.

Judge Deborah Sherwin accepted Laidman was genuinely remorseful but said the matter was serious and jailed him for three years; as well as imposing a five-year restraining order and ordering the axe be destroyed.