A KNIFEMAN argued with a friend then followed him out of his block of flats holding a “dagger-like” blade.

But Richard Hall was spared jail after a judge at Swindon Crown Court heard he was now getting support for his mental health issues and addictions.

The court earlier heard the 37-year-old’s neighbour in his block of flats in Twickenham Close, Nythe, had heard raised voices coming from his apartment in July 17, 2019.

CCTV showed Hall’s friend and the pal’s girlfriend coming out of the flats first. A short time later, the homeowner emerged apparently holding an 18-inch long knife in his hand and under the influence of something. He crouched behind a bin store and hedge, peeking out from behind it.

The footage then showed him walking around 20 metres behind his friends.

Prosecutor Chris Smyth said Hall had been heard shouting: “You’re dead, man, you’re dead.” His friend, who was topless, replied: “Don’t know me. Don’t know me.”

Police were on the scene within minutes after two separate people had called 999. Hall was arrested after he had returned to the flat and was leaving on his bike.

Both Hall and his male friend were arrested. The latter claimed he had been at Hall’s flat when the man had picked up a “sword”. Together with his girlfriend he had picked up two daggers and an axe to protect themselves as they left the flat. Those claims emerged as the man was being interviewed by detectives.

Hall, of Twickenham Close, pleaded guilty to affray.

Nicholas Lee, defending, said his client’s mental health had been badly affected by a spell in prison earlier this year. However, since being released he had sought support from NHS psychiatric services and addiction service Turning Point.

Although he had previous convictions – including for possession of a knife and prohibited weapon – his offending was linked to his mental health issues or drug addiction.

“He is not someone who offends habitually and regularly all the time,” he said.

Sentencing Hall to 10 months imprisonment suspended for two years, Judge Jason Taylor QC said: “You need to know and you don’t need me to tell you the seriousness of this case is taking a weapon out in public while under the influence when you’ve got two weapon offences on your record and whilst subject to a court order.

“That combination of factors would ordinarily necessitate an immediate custodial sentence.”

Hall was given a 12-month mental health treatment order with 30 rehabilitation days and ordered to complete a three-month curfew.

The knives found in his flat and seized by police were forfeit and will be destroyed.