Butcher chased neighbour with knife after noise complaint

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A BUTCHER who threatened a neighbour with a bread knife has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Michael Stoves and his neighbour occupy adjoining first floor flats in Seaham and a dispute arose over him playing loud music, Durham Crown Court heard.

“It was about 2am,” said Jane Waugh, prosecuting. “The neighbour, who has young children, knocked to ask if the music could be turned down.

“In the ensuing argument, Stoves chased the neighbour across the street, wielding the knife and shouting threats.” Stoves, 32, of The Avenue, Seaham, admitted possessing a bladed article and making threats, both on February 22.

Ian Hudson, defending, said in mitigation: “In his police interview, Mr Stoves said he was disgusted at his own behaviour.

“His remorse for this offence was immediate and genuine. There have been no problems since this offence, even though he still lives in the same place.

“Mr Stoves is a qualified butcher and has an offer of work which will take him away to Manchester at least during the week.”

Judge Peter Kelson QC jailed Stoves for eight months, suspended for two years, with a 12-month supervision order.

Stoves was made the subject of a three-year restraining order banning him from contacting or causing a nuisance to his neighbour.

“You richly deserve to go to prison,” the judge told Stoves.

“But society’s needs will be better met by you taking this job and you living your life in a responsible and law-abiding way.”

The judge ordered the confiscation and destruction of the knife.