Drunk who threatened to chop off teenager’s fingers with meat cleaver is spared jail

Leeds Crown Court
Leeds Crown Court

A drunk who threatened to chop a 16-year-old boy’s fingers off with a meat cleaver has avoided an immediate prison sentence.

Nathan Hirst made the threats to the teenager after he refused to buy him alcohol from a shop.

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Hirst also threatened to cut off a woman’s hand during the “terrifying” incident in Wakefield.

Leeds Crown Court heard earlier this month how Hirst, 28, stole a meat cleaver after walking into a woman’s home near to where he lived.

Michael Collins, prosecuting, said Hirst was friends with the woman on Facebook but they had only spoken to each other on three occasions.

Hirst walked into her home on September 29 last year as the woman was in the kitchen with her sister.

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He was told to get out and left but returned later Hirst let himself into the property when she was in the bath.

Mr Collins said Hirst went into the bedroom and laid on the bed.

He was told to leave and went to the kitchen and picked up the meat cleaver.

The woman’s sister returned to the house and he threatened to cut off her hand. Hirst then left and approached three teenagers, asking them to them to buy him alcohol from a shop.

One of the boys refused, saying he was only 16.

Mr Collins said: “He (Hirst) told him to put his fingers on the wall and lifted the meat cleaver as though he was going to chop down on his hands.”

The teenager removed his hand from the wall and Hirst approached one of his friends.

He told the boy to put his fingers against some railings but he refused. Hirst was arrested after one of the boys told his mother about the incident.

Hirst, of Guys Croft, Lupset, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to affray, theft, assault and having a bladed article.

Aubrey Sampson, mitigating, said Hirst had been drinking heavily at the time of the offences.

He added: “It may come as no surprise when I tell you that the defendant can recall very little about this incident.” The case was adjourned on June 5 for a report to consider whether Hirst was suitable to attend an alcohol treatment programme.

A probation officer told the court today that Hirst was suitable to attend the programme.

The court heard Hirst had been suffering from depression at the time of the offences.

Hirst was given a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to take part in a nine-month rehabilitation programme.

Hirst was told he must also do 100 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Christopher Batty said: “These kids must have been terrified.

“They had absolutely no idea what you were going to do.

“They did not know you and you were clearly not in a good place.”

The judge added: “I have been impressed by your attitude since this. That has saved you from a custodial sentence.”