A student who donned a ‘killer clown’ mask and brandished an axe at a pregnant woman in South Shields faces a delay in being dealt with.
The victim of Michael March was so frightened she picked up a brick and threw it at him when he confronted her on Sea Road, South Shields.
March was due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court, but a judge decided he was facing the wrong charge.
The case was sent back to South Northumbria Magistrates’ Court for the charge to be looked at again.
Paul Anderson, prosecuting, said: “The incident itself dates back to October 30
“Around halloween there was a spate of incidents of young people dressing themselves as killer clowns to frighten passers-by.
“There was a great deal of press and media coverage, and this is one such incident, except the clown was armed with an axe.”
The court was told the victim, who was 22 weeks pregnant, was walking with her partner near the car park of the Sand Dancer pub.
“She phoned the police to say she had been frightened by a man wearing a killer clown mask and carrying an axe,” said Mr Anderson.
“Police used CCTV to trace March and another young man.
“March still had the axe and, in his backpack, was the clown mask.
“He told police it was a joke that had gone wrong. He had only banged the axe on the ground as a prank.
“He said he had tried to explain this to the woman, but was unable to so he ran off.”
March, 18, of Hopedene, Leam Lane, Gateshead, originally pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon.
That charge was withdrawn, and March pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed article.
“The sentencing guidelines for both offences are the same,” said Mr Anderson. “On the last occasion, the bench felt it was too serious to be dealt with in the magistrates’ court.
“It may be your worships will agree with your colleagues’ view.”
The magistrates declined jurisdiction for a second time.
March was bailed to attend Newcastle Crown Court to be sentenced on February 6.