Devon

Gardener Paul Reid jailed after bailiff axe threat

A businessman who threatened a bailiff with an axe as he tried to recover an unpaid council tax bill has been jailed at Exeter Crown Court.

Paul Reid, 48, invited Scott Jones into his office, produced the weapon and swung it at him narrowly missing his body, the court heard.

Reid, a gardener from St Mary's Road in Barnstaple, admitted common assault.

He was jailed for eight months, which included the partial activation of an earlier four month sentence.

'Dangerous and intimidating'

The court heard that Reid, who owned a small business based at Castle Park, Barnstaple, was depressed about financial problems he had.

Judge Francis Gilbert said: "You became abusive and reached behind a desk and picked up an axe with a three foot handle.

"It was a thoroughly dangerous and intimidating weapon in the wrong hands."

Mr David Bowen, prosecuting, said: "Mr Jones said the incident caused lasting psychological damage, [he] had to take time away from work and took four months to recover from this incident."

Mr Nigel Wraith, defending, said Reid was depressed and under financial pressure at the time and would risk having his home repossessed and losing contact with his four children if sent to jail.

Reid was already subject to a suspended sentence after he obtained credit while bankrupt and sold four vehicles which should have been handed over to the Official Receiver.

Previously, Reid, of Braunton Road, Barnstaple, was jailed for four months, suspended for two years and ordered to do 150 hours unpaid community work in October 2011.

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