A man brandished a knife at pub customers in Beck Row before driving off despite having three times the legal level of alcohol in his blood, a court has heard.
Kenneth Bartlett, 44, had earlier attempted to provoke an argument with other drinkers during the early morning incident in September.
Today (Monday) Bartlett, of The Endway, Steeple Bumpstead, near Haverhill, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court where he received a six month prison sentence suspended for two years on condition that he takes part in a Drink Impaired Drivers Programme.
He will also be disqualified from driving for three years and will remain under Probation Service supervision for 18 months, said Mr Recorder Simon Blackford.
The court heard it was Bartlett’s third drink-drive conviction and his second for possessing a bladed article in a public place.
He had spent six weeks in prison awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to affray, possession of a bladed article and drink-driving.
Prosecuting, Guy Ayers said Bartlett had arrived at the Bird In Hand at Beck Row and proceeded to drink several pints of Stella lager and Guiness while attempting to start an argument with two other customers.
At one stage Bartlett went outside and a member of staff followed him to say he was not welcome back inside, said Mr Ayers. A disagreement then began between another group of drinkers outside the pub and Bartlett who pulled out a knife which he brandished towards them.
Worried customers threw a glass at him and picked up a chair in an attempt to keep Bartlett at a safe distance while he directed a stream of ‘foul and abusive’ language at them.
Mr Ayers said Bartlett then left the pub in his car and returned a short time later but by then staff had called police who arrested him. During police interview Bartlett declined to answer any questions.
Bartlett’s first conviction for drink-driving had been in 1997 and then a second followed in 2011, as well as a conviction in 2009 for possession of a bladed article in a public place, said Mr Ayers.
Mitigating, Andrew Oliver said Bartlett had expressed his ‘profound regret’ for his actions and accepted it had been particularly upsetting for a member of staff at the pub who had been involved in a previous, unconnected, knife related incident.
Bartlett had a long standing drink problem but during periods often stretching for months when he did not consume alcohol he did not get into trouble and was highly praised in a reference by his employer who two days before the incident had rewarded him with promotion.
Mr Oliver said: “It seems as soon as he has a drink, consequences flow which are dramatic.”
Days earlier Bartlett had visited his GP and been advised to contact the mental health charity MIND because he was considered to be suffering from depression.
Mr Oliver told the court: “It is clear that he (Bartlett) did know that something was going wrong but he has not dealt with it appropriately.
“He knows choosing to drink was the wrong decision, he knows that continuing to drink more than he should was the wrong decision too.”