A GROWN man armed with a machete confronted a 17-year-old boy in the street over social media posts.
Lee Childs, 43, had the blade in a scabbard tucked down his back with the handle poking out his top.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard he went to Paulsgrove in a fury after posting on social media he would ‘go to Paulsgrove with some friends and sort it out’ after reading posts by the boy.
James Kellam, prosecuting, said Childs reacted to the comments on August 24.
‘As the boy is going into a convenience store in Paulsgove he sees the defendant and others,’ he said.
‘They speak to him. It was clear they were hostile and clear to the boy that the defendant had an item in a scabbard concealed down the back of his T-shirt with the handle poking out the neck.
‘At one point the defendant referred to it as a machete, the boy thought it was a sword.
‘The boy, he’s 17, was able to extract himself from the situation and go on his way, and presently the defendant did likewise.’
Police were called and Childs, who has a history of previous convictions but had not offended for 12 years, was arrested.
He made admissions to the police and later handed over the machete.
Judge David Melville QC, who was told Childs had a ‘heart of gold’, handed him a 16-month sentence suspended for two years with 20 days of rehabilitation activities.
Childs had admitted possession of a bladed article at the first opportunity.
Daniel Reilly, for Childs, said his client had ‘completely broken’ with his past offending, which had been fuelled by alcohol abuse.
Childs, of Hawthorn Crescent, Cosham, is considered a ‘family man first and foremost’ and is a ‘wonderful father and grandfather’, Mr Reilly said.
He said Childs had ‘reacted in a moment of high emotion’ to the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons. He said Childs had ‘come a long way’ from his past offending.
Mr Reilly added: ‘He bears no grudge.’
Judge Melville said he could be ‘merciful’ given the gap in offending.
He said: ‘There are too many knives on the streets, you read about it, you hear about it every day. It’s a very serious situation.’