Alcoholic threatened to ‘chop up’ builder in row over tiles

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AN alcoholic who threatened to “chop up” a builder while waving a machete during a row over tiles falling into his back yard has been told he will be spared jail – if he is able to tackle his drink problem.

John McCarthy waved the 12-inch weapon during the angry confrontation with the construction worker, who was on the roof of a neighbouring property in Harold Street, Jarrow, carrying out repairs.

He had a 12-inch machete and was waving it around.

Prosecutor Christopher Kay

Magistrates heard the 60-year-old had sunk a litre of whisky the evening before the exchange on January 27.

McCarthy pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place at a previous hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, with the matter adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

Christopher Kay, prosecuting, said: “At 8.50am, a group of builders were working on a roof.

“One of them heard a male shouting and swearing. He looked down from the scaffold and saw the defendant, who said to him ‘if any of the tiles end up in my garden I will chop you up.’ “He had a 12-inch machete and was waving it around and held it in the air, over his shoulder.”

Police were called and attended McCarthy’s address, finding him in a drunken state.

He pointed out the blade in his living room to an officer, telling him “I went out with that, I am really sorry”.

McCarthy said he was an alcoholic and couldn’t recall much of the confrontation, but said the builders had been throwing tiles off the roof, with some landing in his back yard.

Geoffrey Forrester, defending, said: “He accepts full responsibility and is genuinely remorseful.

District Judge Helen Cousins said: “This clearly crosses the custody threshold, but I need to know if you are suitable for an alcohol treatment order. If you are, I will suspend the sentence.”

The case was adjourned until April 13 in order for the probation service to see if McCarthy is suitable for the alcohol treatment programme.