A FURIOUS husband held a knife to his stepson's throat and threatened to kill him and his mother.

Paul Carruthers, 56, committed the terrifying offence after arriving at the property in Barfs Road, Distington, on August 13 last year and finding his stepson asleep on the settee, Carlisle Crown Court was told.

The defendant had moved out of the house after the break-up of his 16-year marriage. Carruthers had gone to the house to collect belongings and documents he needed, the court heard.

“Simon Scott had been at home alone, asleep on the sofa when the back door opened and he was awoken by the defendant standing over him in a rage,” said Kim Whittlestone, prosecuting.

The defendant then told Mr Scott that he had come to collect his things, prompting his stepson to go upstairs to collect a folder of documents that belonged to the defendant.

Having done that, he came back down the stairs and found Carrufthers rifling through drawers. “The defendant then turned to face Mr Scott and produced a knife,” continued the prosecutor.

“The blade was curved.

“He held it to his throat and Mr Scott was frightened and feared for his safety. The defendant told him he was going to do them all in; he threatened to harm Mr Scott and also Mrs Carruthers.”

A short time later, Mrs Carruthers arrived home.

By this time, said the prosecutor, the defendant had left the house and was sitting in his car outside the property. Mrs Whittlestone said: “He made a slicing movement across his throat towards her.”

Clearly distressed, she immediately called the police.

The barrister then summarised a victim impact statement that was made by Mrs Carruthers after the incident.

In it, Mrs Carruthers said: “I have not been able to sleep because of this. The last three weeks have been a living nightmare. I am so scared of Paul and how he was treating me.

"I’m struggling to sleep because I’m afraid of what he will do.”

She said she was so fearful she would have to move house. She just wanted a peaceful life, she said.

“He has said in the past that he was going to kill himself and he was going to kill me. I was lucky it was my son in the house and not me.”

Mr Scott also spoke of his fears of what would might have happened had his mother been in the house when Carruthers arrived there. The court heard that the defendant had 22 offences on his criminal record.

Jamie Baxter, for Carruthers, of Main Street, Distington, said the defendant was clearly suffering with his mental health on the day of the offence. He also had major depression.

The barrister spoke of expert reports which linked the defendant's poor mental health to a traumatic event in his life – when he found the body of a close relative who had killed himself.

This had left Carruthers, who admitted affray and a public order offence, with post traumatic stress.

Recorder Tom Gilbart jailed Carruthers for 11 months.

As he passed sentence, he noted how the week before the affray, the defendant's GP had noticed he was suffering hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. "It's clear this incident was connected to the deterioration in your mental health," said the judge.

He continued: "This was a very frightening and unpleasant ordeal for your victims. Not only did you make threats to Mr Scott in his home; you did so while brandishing a knife - a frightening weapon.

"The offence was so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified." The judge also imposed a restraining order, banning any contact with his victims for three years or from entering Barfs Road, Distington.

“You are assessed as posing a medium risk of harm to the people involved in this case,” added the judge.