An attacker shouted 'Here's Johnny' as he crashed an axe into the front door of a flat repeatedly while a father and son inside feared for their lives, York Crown Court heard.

David Paul John Bennett, 52, used the famous Jack Nicholson line from the horror film 'The Shining' as he swung the axe with such force that its head disappeared into the door, said Nick Peacock, prosecuting.

He had just told the son: “If you ever threaten to burn my house down again, I will ….. kill you.”

Bennett’s solicitor advocate Graham Parkin said the son is currently in prison on remand facing criminal charges.

Police were so concerned about Bennett’s safety after what he told them about the son, a community officer was visiting him daily.

Bennet had two major mental health disorders and suffered from such severe agoraphobia that he lived as a “recluse”, watching television and never going out, said Mr Parkin.

Bennett, of Springhill Court, Tadcaster, pleaded guilty to threatening a person with an axe in public and criminal damage.

The Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, told Bennett that something “quite considerable” must have led up to the axe incident.

“Make sure you share your problems with the police in future and don’t behave in this way again," he told Bennett.

He read a psychological and a probation report before passing sentence.

“You are a man with considerable difficulties, but this was a reckless and stupid act,” he told Bennett.

“These very considerable mental health difficulties to a large extent explain your behaviour that night.”

He passed a 10-month prison sentence but suspended it for 18 months on condition Bennett does 20 days’ rehabilitative activities.

Mr Peacock said the son and father were outside the son’s home in a North Yorkshire town on January 17 last year when they saw Bennett in the stairwell.

He was shouting and made the threat to kill the son before walking up the stairs towards the flat “ranting and raving”. The father and son retreated into the flat and later told police “they feared for their lives” as Bennett attacked the door with the axe.

Mr Parkin said that Bennett had turned to drinking after his wife left him.

He needed help to deal with his “deep rooted” problems but hadn’t got it.

Mr Parkin claimed that if funding for mental health teams had not been curtailed, Bennett would have been unlikely to have been in court because his problems would have been dealt with before they got to the stage they were now at.