A 50-year-old man who brandished a machete outside a Northampton primary school has been spared a jail sentence.
David Harvey, of Yelvertoft Road, Kingsthorpe, Northampton caused panic among pupils and parents after he became involved in an argument with another man in Kingsland Gardens, near the Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School.
Northampton Crown Court heard Harvey was drunk and had taken crack cocaine when he was seen “stumbling” in the road shortly after 3pm on July 2 last year.
Stephen Moore, prosecuting, said Harvey was arguing with another man and was carrying a machete.
Mr Moore said: “He was waving the machete around and shouting. The other man managed to push him to the ground and he took the machete off him and walked away.”
The court heard parents and staff at the primary school were forced to clear children away from the area.
In interview, Harvey said he had no recollection of the incident and admitted he was an alcoholic.
He later pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing an offensive weapon in public.
The court heard he had more than 30 previous convictions for more than 100 offences.
Liam Muir, mitigating, said his client had made a real effort in recent months to stop using alcohol and drugs.
Recorder Graham Huston, sentencing, said the incident must have been very scary for pupils and parents who witnessed it.
He said: “Young children running out of school to meet their parents do not want to be met by a drunk man waving a machete around.”
But Recorder Huston said he was not going to impose an immediate custodial sentence as he did not want to disrupt Harvey’s recent progress in tackling his drug and alcohol addictions.
He sentenced Harvey to 18 months in jail, suspended for two years. Three months of his sentence was due to a breach of a community order and conditional discharge.