Armed police had to be called to a canal boat to tackle a man who was threatening other officers by swinging a machete, a court heard. 

Joshua Bentley brandished two further knives and had to be restrained using Parva spray before he could be arrested on a boat on the canal at Shipley on November 30, 2023.

A police officer at the scene later said he felt in “immediate fear for my life.”

Bentley has now been locked up for more than two years.

Prosecutor Eleanor Durdy told Bradford Crown Court that Bentley had a history of making threats towards the police.

Over more than a year from September 2022 to the incident on the boat 14 months later, he made calls threatening specific officers, sent malicious communications, attempted to headbutt one officer, and made racist comments towards two others.

The case was heard at Bradford Crown CourtThe case was heard at Bradford Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

In one call to the 101 number he asked if an officer had been dismissed or was still employed by West Yorkshire Police and said: “I am an inch from killing this guy.”

When police went to his address they had to force entry as Bentley did not answer the door. When he was arrested he became increasingly aggressive, made racist comments and claimed he had been raped by the officer he had made threats towards.

Four months later in January 2023 he sent multiple texts to a police officer making threats to stab and shoot them.

The following month after being arrested he became agitated with a solicitor, who he said was corrupt, he became involved in a scuffle with other police officers that resulted in Bentley being placed in a headlock.

The machete incident on November 30 arose when police found Bentley on a boat. He swung a machete from a door window and an armed response unit was called to provide back-up. He brandished two other knives before being arrested.

Bentley later said he did not believe the police were at the boat and thought it was “a home invasion”.

The court heard that he had a long list of previous offences, including stalking, harassment, driving offences and GBH dating back to 2008. In 2015 he made a series of false online reports about a serving police officer.

He later pleaded guilty to making threats to kill, making threats with a bladed article in public, and sending malicious communications.

Mitigating, Samuel Sharp said Bentley, of Apperley Bridge Marina, Apperley Bridge, who appeared via video link from HMP Leeds, accepted what he had done and did not seek to minimise his offending.

However he said the context was that Bentley claimed to have been sexually abused by a serving officer, and had been harassed by another.

He said he suffered with his mental health and with PTSD but accepted that “he needs professional help”.

Mr Recorder David Kelly said it was “inevitable” that Bentley would face a prison term and sentenced him to a total of 31 months in jail. He was also made the subject of a five-year Criminal Behaviour Order.

All the knives seized were ordered to be forfeited and destroyed.