A MAN who ran amok with a claw hammer in a social club in front of families with children has been jailed for 13 months.

Martin McHugh turned over tables, smashed glasses and destroyed another member’s computer, having gone home to arm himself with the weapon.

After hearing the 47-year-old was on a suspended sentence for a racist rant, a judge said there was no option but prison.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how McHugh was refused entry to the Barrington Close club on Friday, August 25, as he was barred.

“He started kicking chairs, banging tables, generally causing mayhem,” he said.

As he kicked over a table he spilled the drink of Robert Leighfield, a retired man who had popped in with his laptop to have a drink while he booked a holiday.

Mr Meeke said some of the members tried to eject McHugh from the building as he threw punches, leaving Mr Leighfield’s spectacles broken.

“A few seconds later the defendant reappeared through the front door waving a claw hammer. There were children and parents, they ran away in terror,” Mr Meeke said.

“He started smashing glassed on tables, made a B-line for Mr Leighfield and his computer: £500 worth of perfectly good computer shattered and destroyed. Mr McHugh punched Mr Leighfield several times to the face, causing a cut. It is a very small cut but just very uncomfortable.”

The defendant was restrained until the police arrived and suffered a number of injuries in the struggle.

McHugh, of Cromer Court, Liden Drive, pleaded guilty to affray, having an offensive weapon and criminal damage.

The court heard that in March he was put on a suspended sentence for a racially aggravated public order offence and having an offensive weapon.

On that occasion he had a disagreement with a man of African origin at a housing association property, shouting racist abuse at him while armed with a weapon.

Richard Williams, defending, said his client was concerned that should he be away from his flat for more than six month he may lose the tenancy. He said he had not realised he was barred and was sorry for what he had done and accepted he went the wrong way about tackling his issues.

Jailing him, Judge Robert Pawson said: “In August this year, while subject to a suspended sentence, itself imposed for you losing your temper, you went to a community club.“You were asked to leave quite legitimately, you went away, you came back with a hammer. It was during the day, there were children there.”

“You smashed a customer’s computer, there was glass everywhere and you were swinging it around. It is made worse by the presence of children.”