'Killer clown' teen who scared pregnant woman with axe 'first' to be locked up

Michael March
Michael March

A teenager who scared a pregnant woman with an axe is understood to be the first person to be locked up as a result of the 'killer clown' craze.

Michael March, who was 17 at the time of his arrest, was sentenced to six months in a youth offenders institution after admitting possession of a bladed article.

He was caught up in the 'killer clown' craze which swept the country last October leaving children and adults alike terrified.

March, who had banged the axe on the ground close to his victim, was arrested on October 30 after a call to police about a clown carrying an axe and scaring people.

He targeted a pregnant woman in South Shields town centre who picked up a piece of a brick in order to defend herself and told him she would "smash his head in".

Newcastle Crown Court, sitting at the Moot Hall, heard how March had ran off with a pal after the “prank” but was arrested after he was traced on CCTV.

March, of Hopedene, Leam Lane, Gateshead, was one of several arrested in the lead up to Halloween last year during a spate of similar incidents across the country.

Vic Laffey, defending, told Newcastle Crown Court how March suffers with a behavioural disorder called ADHD and "never intended to hurt anybody".

He said: "This was a prank that has gone horribly wrong and it is something that he regrets.

"This is his first offence and he is at low risk of offending again, he lives at home with his grandparents and is a carer for his granddad.

"He had been attending college but that has been put on hold pending the outcome of this case.

"He admits what he has done was reckless and stupid."

Nicholas Rooke, prosecuting, told the court how March claimed to have been the victim of a similar killer clown incident in Gateshead and that resulting in him carrying on the prank.

He said: "He and his friend had been scaring people with the clown mask when they noticed a couple in the town centre.

"He banged the axe on the floor in order to scare them, before the woman picked up a piece of brick."

The court heard how the victim declined to make an official complaint about the incident due to being 22-weeks pregnant.

Jailing him for six months, Recorder Jamie Hill said: "Carrying a real axe and threatening innocent people goes beyond anything that is acceptable at Halloween.

"Wearing a clown mask is not an offence but you had armed yourself with an axe, not a fake axe, a real one.

"The fact you were wearing a clown mask in an aggravating factor."

He was ordered to pay a statutory surcharge and the axe was ordered to be destroyed.

March was sentenced at Moot Hall in Newcastle

March was sentenced at Moot Hall in Newcastle