Man threatened toddler with a mallet in 'bizarre' Castleford incident
A man who threatened to hit his terrified neighbour's toddler with a mallet has avoided jail because of his mental health issues.
Leeds Crown Court heard that Steven Scott, 31, had suffered a serious brain injury when was a teenager that meant he often couldn't separate fact from fiction, and which led to his 'behaviour' behaviour on March 6 this year.
Prosecutor Gareth Henderson-Moore said a neighbour on Toll Bar Road in Castleford had been stood in her front garden with her two-year-old son that afternoon when Scott began to shout abuse at her and a workman who was at her house.
He was swinging a mallet and threatened to "smash" the youngster's head in. The neighbour did not engage with him.
Later that day, the woman was in another's neighbour's back garden when Scott made his way around the back uninvited.
He was described as being drunk and aggressive and was asking for cigarettes.
When he was refused, he again made threats saying he was going to smash their heads in, and threatened to 'knife' the the first neighbour and her son.
He left when he was confronted but then returned to his garden where he was seen swinging the mallet around again.
He was arrested and quizzed, but was uncooperative.
Scott, of Toll Bar Road, Castleford, has 12 convictions for 19 offences, including possessing an offensive weapon, assaults and threatening behaviour.
A short victim impact statement was read out in which the neighbour said she was terrified for herself and her family, that it was not the first time he had threatened people in the street and she now won't let her children play outside.
She said: "Life has been hell because of him".
Scott pleaded guilty to one count of affray, and two counts of assault.
Mitigating, Austin Newman said that Scott had sustained a serious head injury in a road accident when he was 16, and he developed "serious neurological difficulties and mental health issues".
He said he suffers short-term memory loss and has executive dysfunction - cognitive, behavioral, and emotional difficulties - and is unable to work as a result.
Mr Newman said: "He can become confused very easily and has difficulty differentiating between fact and fiction.
"While it's plainly not an excuse, it is clear to understand given those difficulties why he committed these offences.
"He seems to have formed the belief that the victims were somehow a threat to him."
Recorder Ashley Serr described the incidents as "bizarre and irrational" and added: "Your mental health can't be divorced from your offending."
He agreed that putting him in jail would not assist his mental health issues and reports suggested he was making progress.
He handed him 10 months' jail, but suspended it for 24 months.