Knifeman's 'slash' threats to Sunderland takeaway boss in row over price of pizza

Ian Doherty

Ian Doherty

A customer thrust a knife towards a takeaway owner's face during a row over the price of a pizza.

Ian Doherty warned that he would "chop" and "slash" the worker at Pizza Oven in Sunderland while brandishing a six inch blade - because he thought he had been ripped off after asking for a refund.

His frightening threats, which included him making "slashing movements" towards the 44-year-old vicitm's face, were caught on cctv and the footage was played in court.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 40-year-old had placed two food orders, worth £7.50 and £3.30 when he went into the shop with a woman in the early evening on February 29.

When he then asked for a refund on a pizza he had paid for and was given £6.80, he flew into a fury.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court: "He became aggressive, saying he should have been given more change.

"The owner tried to explain he had given him the right change and some customers tried to assist, to try and placate him."

The court heard after Doherty was given an extra pound, he produced a knife, which he took from it's sheath.

Mr Pallister added: "The owner was shaken, he thought he might come over the counter.

"The defendant said words to the effect of 'I will chop you' or something similar.

"The shopkeeper was very frightened."

The court heard a delivery driver who saw the stand off heard Doherty tell the owner "I will slash you from here to here" and saw him "make slashing movements across his face".

Doherty, of Padon Hill, Doxford Park, Sunderland, was ushered out of the shop by the woman he was with and they were given a further £2 refund.

He pleaded guilty to having a bladed article.

Mr Recorder Ben Nolan QC sentenced Doherty to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a three month night time curfew and alcohol treatment.

The judge said: "One can understand how troubled and perturbed that shop keeper must have been.

"The courts have made it plain that for offences involving production and carrying and threatening with knives, custodial sentences will almost always be appropriate."

The judge said Doherty's jail term could be suspended because he has stayed out of trouble for almost two decades and is willing to undergo treatment.

Richard Herrmann, defending, said Doherty referred himself for help with his drinking even "before it was suggested as a good idea for court purposes" because he was so ashamed of his behaviour.

Mr Herrmann said Doherty, who is deeply sorry for the fear he caused the shopkeeper, had been carrying a knife because he had been the victim of violent attacks himself and realises how wrong he was.

Crown Court

Crown Court