Suspended sentence for wielding knife at social club

A DRUNKEN man wielded a bread knife in front of scores of terrified people at Mere Social Club, a court heard.

Salisbury Crown Court heard on Friday that Richard Andrew Watling got into an argument with his girlfriend’s brother at the club on November 8.

He was asked to leave but returned a short while later clutching the knife, which he waved around outside the club in a “stabbing and slashing motion”.

The club was busy as there was a family party being held there, with children as young as seven witnessing Watling’s actions.

Mark Ruffell, defending, said in the months before the incident Watling had suffered a serious of personal setbacks and had been diagnosed with depression. But instead of taking his medication he had begun drinking heavily.

“It was like a ticking time bomb,” he said. “Something was going to happen; it was just a question of when and how.”

He added that since the incident Watling has started a new job and is doing well.

Recorder Edward Burgess said: “I think you appreciate how serious this matter is. It was very frightening for those who were present to witness you behaving in the way you did with that knife and there is absolutely no justification for it.

“A weapon such as that is potentially lethal and things are more likely to go wrong when someone who is severely drunk is wielding it.”

Watling, of Horsefields, in Gillingham, Dorset, was handed a six-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months, with 12 months’ supervision and was ordered to complete a building skills for recovery programme after admitting affray.

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