A THUG who scuffled with police officers while brandishing a lead pipe with a spanner attached to the end and threatened to attack a family member with a meat cleaver has avoided jail.

Police were called to St John's Avenue, Braintree, just after midnight when they saw Jarred Chittock talking to a woman who was inside a house.

Chittock had been living with his cousin in nearby Hillside Gardens after being released from hospital following an overdose.

But after a few weeks his cousin's wife raised concerns about his drinking and asked him to leave.

Chittock, 30, then sent her a threatening text message with a picture of a meat cleaver saying he would use it on her.

The victim called the police, and later that day received a message from a friend warning her Chittock was on the way to her house armed with a pole and was intent on smashing her windows.

When police found Chittock he was holding the pipe above his head.

Police on the scene tried to make him drop the weapon, but he refused, and he was eventually tackled to the ground.

A police office suffered minor injuries in the scrap.

Chittock, who has no previous convictions, claimed he had found the large knife by the side of a chair in a pub and had no intention of using it and did not mean what he had said in the messages.

He admitted possession of an offensive weapon, possession of a bladed article and sending threatening messages.

Hannah Sutton, mitigating, at Chelmsford Crown Court said Chittock, of Wagtail Drive, Heybridge, had been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder which was brought on by the death of his father when he was young and had tried to take his own life three times.

She said: "He is disgusted at the way he has acted and wants the court to understand what was going through his mind at the time."

Judge David Pugh sentenced him to 13 months in jail suspended for two years.

Chittock must also attend 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days and undertake 180 hours of unpaid work.