Machete threat in row over debt

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A MAN who threatened his former drinking buddy with a two-foot-long machete after a debt row could be jailed.

John Mason, aged 57, shouted abuse through Stephen Cook’s letter box at 6am and threatened to chop his head off, before taking two chunks out of his front door, Chesterfield Magistrates Court heard.

Helen Griffiths, prosecuting, told the court that the men used to drink together, but bad blood developed after Mason wrongly accused him of not paying a debt.

Miss Griffiths said Cook, of Woodthorpe Road, Shuttlewood, north Derbyshire, was woken at 6am by banging on his front door and abuse being shouted through his letter box by the defendant.

He went downstairs and heard Mason shouting through the letter box and telling him to come outside.

Miss Griffiths said: “Mr Cook had known the defendant for a year. He was stunned to see he had a two foot-long machete in his right hand, raised above his head.

“There was reference to chopping his head off. His face was contorted with anger and he appeared to be slavering.”

Miss Griffiths said Mr Cook was frightened by Mason’s behaviour and ran upstairs. He heard Mason strike the front door with the axe and hoped desperately he would not be able to force entry.”

Mason left in a car, leaving two pieces of Mr Cook’s front door chopped out.

When Mason, of Patterson Street, Bolsover, was arrested, he told police that Mr Cook could not be trusted and his allegations were “all lies”.

But, in a second interview, he admitted going with the machete to scare Mr Cook to stop him pestering him.

“He said he banged on the door with the machete,” said Helen Griffiths.

Julian Hammond, for Mason, said he suffered from anxiety and paranoia and asked for a psychiatric report.

Mason, of Patterson Street, Bolsover, admitted possessing an offensive weapon, using threatening behaviour and damaging property.

Presiding magistrate Paul Beard said that the offence was beyond the bench’s sentencing powers and committed Mason to be dealt with a by a judge at Derby Crown Court.

He will be sentenced on September 23.

Probation service reports were ordered and Mason was granted bail on condition he did not contact Mr Cook.