A DRUNKEN man threatened his in-laws with an axe after birthday celebrations turned sour.
Shaun Cruikshanks threatened to “chop up” his wife’s family when he arrived at the family home in the early hours of January 5.
Police arrested the 32-year-old, from Millcome Close, Sunderland, who was carrying a small axe.
Cruikshanks pleaded guilty at Sunderland Magistrates Court to threatening to kill his mother and father-in-law.
He also admitted possessing an offensive weapon.
Keith Laidlaw, prosecuting, said it was 5am when Mrs Laidler heard Cruikshanks banging outside the house in Ryhope, which she shares with her husband and three of her children.
Mr Laidlaw said: “She said he shouted at her asking if his wife was at home or at her ex-boyfriend’s
“He then shouted: ‘I have got an axe and I am going to chop his head off, then come back.”
The terrified woman called 999, while her husband tried to reason with Cruikshanks, who told him he was going to “start chopping people up”.
Cruikshanks initially told police he was returning the axe, that he had borrowed from Mr Laidler.
Angus Westgarth, defending, said a drunken argument had ignited the attack.
He said: “It was a celebration for his birthday at his house. There was some kind of argument and his wife left.
“He was extremely intoxicated. He went to his in-laws looking for his wife.
“He thought she may be somewhere else, but started there.
“He has not a great recollection of it, but takes full responsibility for what he did.”
“There is complete contrition on his behalf - he says he never wants to drink again, if it causes these problems.”
District Judge Elsey imposed a 36-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, for the three offences.
Cruikshanks was also given a five-year restraining order, banning him his in-laws’ street in Ryhope and told to pay an £80 victim surcharge and £80 court costs.