Man threatened neighbour with claw hammer and poured lighter fuel over his motorbike during lockdown

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

A man has been told to keep away from his neighbour after he threatened him with a claw hammer and poured lighter fuel over his motorbike in a row during lockdown, a court heard.

Richard Clark, 54, started shouting at his neighbour after he became annoyed about his motorbike which was parked near his home and came out of his address armed with a claw hammer and threatened to smash it on his head and “do him”, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Hannah Gladwell prosecuting, said: “He squirted the motorcycle with lighter fuel and threatened to set it alight.”

Ms Gladwell said that he also threatened another neighbour, who was with the victim.

She said that Clark had then gone back into his property and police were called to the scene and he was arrested.

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Clark, of Norwich Road, Dereham, admitted threatening words and behaviour, threatening to damage property and having an offensive weapon on May 15, this year.

Judge Katharine Moore said Clark had a history of overreacting and committing crime when emotionally upset,

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She accepted Clark struggled during lockdown and stopped taking his medication and had been drinking heavily but said it must have been a frightening incident for his neighbours.

“It was seen to cause upset and fear.”

She imposed a 14 month sentence suspended for 21 months and made a restraining order for him not to contact the neighbours involved for the next 30 months.

She told Clark: “Stay out of trouble. Stay away from alcohol and find better ways to express feelings of anger.”.

Danielle O’Donovan, mitigating, said that Clark had carried on living near to the victim and there had no repeat offending since this incident.

She said he did not oppose a restraining order being imposed: “It was a single squirt with the canister on the bike and no effort was made to light it.”

Ms O’Donovan said Clark had mental health problems but has been given help by the authorities and had weekly engagement with his mental health team but said he suffered during lockdown and stopped taking his medication: “Covid broke his life.”

She said his mental health deteriorated during the lockdown but he now realises there is help he can still access.

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