Axeman threatened to kill customers at Sunderland café where his girlfriend worked

Stewart Ward was jailed for 14 months for affray, criminal damage and wielding an axe.
Stewart Ward was jailed for 14 months for affray, criminal damage and wielding an axe.
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An axeman who threatened to kill customers during a terrifying cafe attack has been jailed.

Stewart Ward smashed large windows at the Pitstop cafe, in Philadelphia, Sunderland, causing terror among customers while armed with an axe and a knife on April 29.

The Pitstop cafe in Philadelphia, where Ward terrified customers and staff.

The Pitstop cafe in Philadelphia, where Ward terrified customers and staff.

When police went to his home to arrest him after the daytime incident, he threatened to attack the officers with boiling water.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 35-year-old, of St Matthews Terrace, Shiney Row, had targeted the premises because his girlfriend worked there and he stormed in telling her to chose between him and her job.

Prosecutor Peter Schofield told the court: “He was holding an axe at head height.”

After smashing windows at the cafe, Ward pulled out a knife.

Mr Schofield said: ”A customer who was present with a female recalls being told to get out ‘or I will kill you’.”

The court heard the terrified customers fled to safety before Ward simply walked away.

When police officers got to his home to arrest him, he warned them: “The first one through the door gets boiling sugar water all over them”.

Ward threw a kettle at a window during the stand off but nobody was hurt.

Ward admitted affray, criminal damage, having an article with a blade, having an offensive weapon and a public order offence.

Judge Robert Adams jailed him for 14 months.

The judge said: “This was a terrifying experience for everyone in the cafe. You were armed with a number of weapons, each capable of causing harm to a number of people.

“You had weapons with you and you made threats to a number of people. Thankfully, no one was harmed, but they would have been terrified.”