Ipswich man caused fear by waving golf club and shouting abuse in street
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A man who waved a golf club at pedestrians and drivers in an Ipswich street has been handed a suspended jail sentence.
Robert Sutherland was seen holding the club, drinking from a bottle of cider and shouting abuse at passers-by outside his home in St John’s Road on November 1.
One young woman went home to report the incident to her father, who then returned to approach Sutherland.
The 38-year-old responded by slamming his bottle of cider on the roof of a car, which he declared was ‘bugged’, before accusing the man of child abuse.
He continued to swing the golf club at other people, including an elderly gentlemen, before moving into the middle of the road and causing vehicles to stop or change course.
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Lesla Small, for the prosecution at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on Monday, said Sutherland retreated to his flat when police arrived, and reemerged without the golf club, which was later found inside.
When arrested, Sutherland told police he had armed himself with the club because he thought blue lights were flashing on lamp posts, indicating to him an emergency.
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Sutherland pleaded guilty to affray in court two days later, but failed to appear at two subsequently arranged hearings, before turning up for sentencing this week.
At the time of the offence, he was subject to post-sentence supervision following early release from a 24-month jail term handed down at Ipswich Crown Court for dangerous driving and assault.
Sutherland told the court: “It was a one-off thing that won’t happen again.
“I didn’t think I was using the club in a threatening manner, but I can see why people may have felt that way.”
He went on to explain his belief that the golf club had been bugged by the KGB, and that he was waving it around in an effort to “interact with other covert sources”.
Magistrates told Sutherland he had put other people in fear of their safety with his behaviour.
Instead of an immediate prison spell, they felt it would be more appropriate for Sutherland to engage with probation and mental health services, while subject to an eight-week sentence – suspended for two years.
He must also attended 20 days of rehabilitation and pay a total of £200 in court fees.