Axe missed victim's fingers by inches
A PARANOID man who threatened a woman in a flower shop, swinging an axe, has been jailed.
Stephen Thompson burst into Edith Wilmott Flowers in Westbury- on-Trym and claimed to customer Jackie Farrington that her husband was following him.
Bristol Crown Court heard the axe missed Mrs Farrington's fingers by inches, as he screamed: "I will kill you if you don't stop it!"
Although Thompson was ushered from the premises, a terrified Mrs Farrington later described how her head felt like a "tumble drier" as she replayed events.
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The next day her first thought was the thump of the axe blade, the court heard.
Thompson, 41, of Westbury- on-Trym, pleaded guilty to making a threat to kill and possessing an offensive weapon on October 23 last year.
Jailing him for two years and eight months, Judge Michael Roach told him: "You must have terrified this lady. She had to be confronted with you wielding an axe.
"The axe came within inches of her hand and you threatened to kill her in graphic terms.
"It must have been very alarming indeed."
The judge handed Thompson an indefinite restraining order banning him from having any contact with Mrs Farrington.
He was also told to keep 200 meters away from both the flower shop and WW Kemp and Son jewellers.
Nadeem Aullybocus, defending, said Mrs Farrington left her workplace and went to order flowers at the florist.
He said: "The defendant had been watching her, completely unbeknown to her.
"She went to the flower shop and she had her hand on the worktop.
"Suddenly there was a bang, and there was an axe embedded in the worktop.
"She was quite shocked and the defendant was standing right next to her."
Mr Aullybocus described how "angry and aggressive" Thompson lifted the axe from the counter and was waving it in the air, switching it from hand to hand.
Thompson told Mrs Farrington he was not putting up with her husband anymore, that her husband was following him and he would kill her unless she ended it.
Mr Aullybocus said: "The manager ushered the defendant out of the shop and he just walked out.
"Mrs Farrington was relieved and described how she went to the jewellers, locked the door and felt physically sick and exhausted.
When police tracked down Thompson on November 3 he asked them "What took you so long?" the court heard.
He showed them the axe and coat he wore in the incident and claimed he had been wound up and had tried to stop it.
He said he had the axe to get it sharpened in a nearby hardware shop.
James Haskell, defending, said: "He concedes that this incident was very terrifying for Mrs Farrington.
"He has no intention of repeating this whatsoever in respect of her or anyone."
Mr Haskell said his client's mental health deteriorated as a result of a lack of ability to cope with the stresses of life, use of cannabis and a lack of engagement with mental health services, including not taking medicine.
He said: "Mr Thompson did not intend to carry out the threat.
"It is what she perceived that to be and he is sorry he made her feel that way."
A psychiatrist's report for the judge recommended prison, the court heard.