A MAN who turned up at a birthday party for two teenagers and chased the father of one of the girls with a knife has been jailed for 18 months.
Stenard Lawrence was told the fear caused to his victim and to the 140 children at the party made the incident too serious for him to be given a suspended sentence.
The 30-year-old, of Bath Street in Rugby, had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to charges of affray and possessing an offensive weapon.
Prosecutor Andrew Wilkins said in November last year the parents of two girls organised a joint 16th birthday party at the Valley Sports club.
There were a couple of incidents during the evening, both of which had involved the same girl who was asked to leave.
She went home where she told her mother, who was in the early stages of a relationship with Lawrence.
They both went to the venue with her mother confronting the father of one of the birthday girls when she punched and scratched him, while he was also punched by someone else from behind. He had to go to hospital with a suspected broken jaw.
Lawrence then produced a knife and approached the other girl’s father whom he chased out into the car park.
As the father got into his car and tried to lock the door, Lawrence pulled it open before a struggle broke out between them during which the father was injured as he fell to the floor although the court was told he attributed his injuries to the ground rather than any contact with the knife.
Lawrence made no comment when he was questioned by police at the scene, but later pleaded guilty on the basis he had not lunged at the father with the knife.
David Everett, defending, said Lawrence, who had come to this country with his family from Jamaica in 2001, had no previous convictions and said he acted significantly out of character.
But Recorder Lance Ashworth QC told him: “This was clearly a very frightening incident for him and must have been a very frightening experience for the children who were there.
“Even if the reason you put it in your pocket was because you happened to be eating with it at the time, there was no justification whatsoever for producing that knife. There was no reason whatsoever for brandishing that knife and chasing that father round the bar and across the car park.”