A MAN who brandished an axe at a neighbour in the street accusing him of stealing his own flagstones has been spared an immediate jail sentence because of his mental health problems.

Scott Devlin threatened to chop up his victim in the “bizarre” incident in Braithwaite Way, Keighley, on April 26, 2020, Bradford Crown Court heard on Friday.

He followed him down the street, said he’d blow up both his houses and picked up a brick and made a throwing motion with it.

Devlin, 42, of Braithwaite Way, pleaded guilty to unlawfully and intentionally threatening the man with a hand axe in a public place.

He was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, after the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Richard Mansell QC, accepted that he had battled serious mental health problems for many years.

The victim was moving flagstones between his two properties when Devlin told him to “stop nicking them,” the court was told.

He waved the axe, saying: “I will chop you up and I will blow both your houses up.”

He then picked up a brick and made a throwing motion but did not release it.

The police were alerted and recovered an axe from Devlin’s home.

The victim stated that he did not believe that Devlin was going to attack him. Although scared, he wasn’t caused serious alarm or distress.

Paul Canfield said in mitigation that Devlin suffered with PTSD, psychosis, depression and anxiety. He also had physical problems including diabetes and severe pain in his feet.

He had no previous convictions and the offence was wholly out of character.

“It was a one-off incident, albeit serious,” Mr Canfield said.

“He is keen to comply with any community order rather than go to prison.”

The probation service had assessed Devlin’s risk of reoffending as low.

Judge Mansell said the victim was moving his own flagstones to the home of a disabled relative to build a path for wheelchair access.

Devlin had held the hand axe above his head causing the man to run backwards to get away.

But he had never come within touching distance of the victim who did not believe he intended to hurt him.

Judge Mansell said the “bizarre” offence was committed in the first month of the Covid-19 lockdown which may have added to Devlin’s stress and anxiety.

He was ordered to attend 30 rehabilitation activity days to help with his mental health problems.

Judge Mansell made an order depriving him of the axe.