AN ELDERLY man has been spared jail after lunging towards one of his neighbours with a knife during lockdown.

Cyril Bradley, of Mill Road, Henley on Thames, had been drinking all afternoon into the evening of July 11 to ‘cope’ with his anxiety.

He had been looking after his ex-wife’s dog at the time but it kept escaping into the communal garden where his neighbours were having a barbecue under a gazebo so they called his ex-partner to pick it up.

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But things turned sour when the 70-year-old called them c***s because the ‘dog was being taken away from him’.

He also told a woman to ‘shut up you slag’.

But instead of leaving when one of the men asked him to, in an ‘intense’ act of ‘terror', he moved his right arm up from his waist and leant towards her armed with a knife.

In seconds disabled Bradley, who now uses a walking stick, was pushed to the ground by another man from the gathering where he stayed until police arrived.

Officers searched him and found a second knife in his pocket.

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At Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday prosecutors said that the woman had a panic attack and the thought of him returning ‘fills her with fear’.

But his defence barrister said it was ‘isolated’, adding: “The distress was relatively short lived.

“He was very quickly taken to the ground and it didn’t escalate any further.”

She also said that since the incident he had laid off the booze and has moved back in with his ex-wife, who is now his current partner.

They also questioned whether prison would be a ‘deterrent’ with him being an ‘elderly man’ with ‘chronic ill health’.

Judge Ian Pringle said: “It was very short lived, but it was very intense and the terror is truly genuine.”

Bradley has 16 previous convictions for other unrelated crimes.

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Sentencing him, he said: “The language you used was foul and disgraceful and you rightfully look down at the floor now in shame."

He was told he would spend eight months in prison for the first charge of being in possession of a knife and 12 months in prison for the second charge of threatening a person with a knife in a public place.

The judge said he had decided to suspend the sentence, which will run concurrently, for 24 months because prison would be difficult.

This means that if he commits any crimes in the next two years he could go to prison for 12 months.

If he doesn't commit any more crimes in the next two years then the sentence will not be activated.

The judge also ordered him to have six months of alcohol treatment at Turning Point in Oxfordshire.

He said it is an ‘extremely good organisation’.

Bradley will also pay a victim surcharge.