South Shields man who insulted judge is jailed for ten months

Leonard Amess was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court

Leonard Amess was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court

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A man, who told a judge to "get a new hat" has been put behind bars after he left a family frightened by shouting drunken abuse outside their home.

Leonard Amess was jailed for ten months after admitting affray, following a "scuffle" with a man at the house, in South Shields, where worried residents feared he was armed with a knife.

Amess had been due to be sentenced for affray on Friday but turned up too drunk for the hearing to take place and was remanded in custody over the weekend to sober up.

As he was led away, Amess, 42, of Westoe Road, South Shields, told a judge to "get a new hat"

The court heard a family were all left in fear as a result of Amess 's "ugly" behaviour on October 7 last year.

Prosecutor Jonathan Devlin told Newcastle Crown Court he was known to the people living at the house , who saw him "shouting, with something in his hands" outside the house in the early evening.

Mr Devlin said: "All of the people in the house were afraid. The defendant appeared either drunk or under the influence of drugs. He was described as being extremely angry."

Mr Devlin said Amess got involved in "scuffling" with a man who was at the house but no injury was caused.

At the time of the stand-off, Amess was on a suspended sentence for a charge of assisting an offender.

Judge Edward Bindloss said it was an "ugly incident" outside the house but accepted Amess did not have a knife.

The judge sentenced him to ten months behind bars and told him: "You had something in your hand, which the witnesses perceived to be a knife but I accept, for the purposes of sentence, it was not. They were frightened and you became extremely angry. This was an ugly incident at someone else's house."

The judge said Amess paid no extra penalty his past drunken appearance at court.

Vic Laffey, defending, said Amess wished to apologise for the condition he was in at court last week.

Mr Laffey said: "He was very nervous about the hearing."

Mr Laffey said Amess had sought help for his alcohol problems and the weekend in custody left him motivated to change his ways.