Thug threatened to 'carve up' former friend with meat cleaver after believing he was seeing his wife
A thug who threatened to "carve up" his former friend as he held a meat cleaver outside the man's back yard has avoided jail.
Keith Cullen, 43, believed the man was seeing his wife and shouted at him while armed with the terrifying weapon as he banged on the roller shutter on November 5 last year.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how Cullen had moved into a flat opposite his friend's on Grey Terrace, Ryhope, 18-months earlier.
Cullen told the crown court that “it was when he started seeing my wife that we weren't friends anymore", but the judge told him: “You do not deal with it by carrying a meat cleaver around and banging it off someone's back gate.”
Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said the victim had gone into the back yard to put some rubbish in the bins at about 4.30pm when he heard the defendant shouting.Mr Pallister said: "He heard the defendant shout "you fat *******".
"As he turned he could see the defendant at his rear door."
He then described how Cullen was "kicking and banging the outside of the roller shutter" and yelled: "I'm going to carve you up you fat *******."
The man looked through a small gap next to the shutter and saw the defendant hold a "meat cleaver, a white bladed large chopping knife" and called the police.
Officers arrived soon after and arrested Cullen at his flat where they found the weapon in a wardrobe, which was understood to have been hidden there by his partner so that he could not find it.
Jamie Adams, defending said that Cullen had had a very difficult childhood, which resulted in him developing other problems.
Mr Adams said: "At the age of eight he was glue sniffing. By the age of 23 he was onto harder drugs."
Mr Adams said Cullen had completed a number of courses while in custody and asked the judge to consider a suspended sentence.
Cullen, of Dene Street, Silksworth, pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon and a public order offence at an earlier hearing.
As Judge Sarah Mallett began her sentencing, Cullen, who appeared via videolink from HMP Durham said: "It was when he started seeing my wife that we weren't friends anymore."
Judge Mallett said: "It is your belief that there was a relationship between (the victim) and your wife.
"Whatever your understanding, whatever the reality is, you do not deal with it by carrying a meat cleaver around and banging it off someone's back gate."
She said she had taken the mitigating circumstances into consideration and sentenced Cullen to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.
He was made subject of a two year rehabilitation requirement order, an electronically monitored curfew for nine months as well as an indefinite restraining order preventing him from contacting the victim.
Judge Mallett also ordered Cullen to pay a fine for breaching a suspended sentence order imposed at the magistrates' courts.