Six months for 'local enforcer' who brandished sword at terrified young girls in Grimsby
THREE young girls were left terrified after a man brandishing a fearsome sword suddenly confronted them and started chasing them, a court heard.
He saw himself as "the local enforcer" and the girls were so frightened they ran off screaming and hysterical, the court was told.
Anthony Sharp, 61, of Ravenspurn Way, Grimsby, admitted affray and possessing a large decorative sword in public on April 16.
Matthew Donkin, prosecuting, told Grimsby Crown Court that three young girls – two aged seven and one aged nine – were playing near Sharp's home when he walked outside and used a knife to cut down a rope swing tied to a tree.
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He later brandished a replica sword he had drawn from its scabbard.
"The girls screamed in fright and they ran away," said Mr Donkin.
Sharp followed them and one of the seven-year-old girls was so frightened she dropped her bicycle before running off.
Her nine-year-old sister asked if she could have her little sister's bicycle back and Sharp told her: "Yes, when I stab you."
The girls ran off screaming to the safety of one of their homes. Sharp was seen running and holding the sword above his head, with the blade pointing upwards.
"The girls were crying, pale and hysterical," said Mr Donkin.
A neighbour challenged Sharp about what he had done and he said: "It worked, didn't it?"
Richard Hackfath, mitigating, said Sharp had initially been struggling to understand what he had done wrong and had been in denial.
"He now realises what he has done was very wrong, frightening and very dangerous," said Mr Hackfath.
"He has not gone out to frighten, intimidate or hurt anyone. He has not thought through the consequences of what he was about to do."
It was a short-lived incident and no injury was caused or violence used.
"He accepts his behaviour was threatening and he now regrets it," said Mr Hackfath.
There had been problems with children – not those involved in this incident – in the street before and Sharp "went out to do something about it in an extremely misguided way".
Judge Robert Moore said Sharp saw himself as "the local enforcer", cutting down the children's swing instead of leaving it to the local authorities.
The children were "not feral youths" and it was difficult to imagine a "more frightening sight" for them than a man chasing them with a sword.
Sharp, who has worked at sea for most of his life, was jailed for six months.