A man who threatened to kill a policeman who had earlier arrested him has been jailed for 24 weeks.

Ian West had been put on a suspended sentence for drunken violence a couple of months before he told a nurse that he would stab the officer.

And after a judge heard how the 44-year-old headbutted the officer before later making the threat, he activated the jail term.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon crown court that police had been called to a disturbance in the early hours of Sunday, June 21 at a woman’s house.

He said West had been there earlier and taken to hospital after saying he had taken an overdose and returned, throwing stones at the window.

The woman let him in but Mr Meeke said he made a nuisance of himself so the police were called.

PC Michael Ware arrived and West told him he was packing his bag to leave.

“The officer asked him to come out and show he didn’t have any weapons. He replied that he would come out when he was good and ready, though not so politely,” he said.

“The constable approached him and tried to engage him conversation – it was clear he was spoiling for a fight. All constable Ware’s attempts to placate him came to nought.”

As he went to handcuff West he head-butted the officer and following a tussle he was restrained and taken away by other officers called to the scene.

Having been taken to the police station it was decided he should be seen by a nurse because of the state he was in. But when she tended to him he calmly told her that he was going to seek out the officer and kill him.

He first told her: “If I see that p**** who arrested me outside here I’ll beat him to a pulp; I’ll get a knife, cut his ears off. I’ll stab him to death,” then added “I am going to take the officer for all he has got and I am going to kill him”.

Mr Meeke said: “The nurse was considerably alarmed by his manner. She feared he would complete the threat.

“She struggled with her medical ethics, spoke to her employers, and feared because of his calm nature, she had to report it.”

West, formerly of Green Valley Avenue, Haydon Wick, but now living at Norcliffe Road, Park South, pleaded guilty to common assault and intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress.

The court heard he was on a suspended sentence for actual bodily harm on a previous partner when he held a knife to the woman’s throat and punched her.

Martin Wiggins, defending, said his client thought he had been doing well on the conditions of his suspended sentence, including a domestic violence programme.

He said his problem had been the misuse of alcohol and since June last year he had not been drinking.

Jailing him Judge Douglas Field said: “On March 23, 2009 you were given a suspended sentence and it was explained to you that if you committed offences during the operational period of 24 months that sentence could be put into effect. You were sentenced for an offence of violence in drink. Four months later in drink you are violent again, assault a police officer and you tell a nurse you are going to kill the police officer in graphic terms.”