A MAN who threatened to plunge a machete into his neighbour’s skull in a row over excessively loud music has avoided jail.

Hayden White was involved in the row after his neighbour, Michael Lester, from the flat downstairs came up demanding he turn it down as he could still hear it even while wearing headphones.

White, 55, appeared at Worcester Crown Court on June 22 facing the charge of making a threat to kill Mr Lester in February this year at their block of flats in Stourport Road, Kidderminster.

Michael Aspinall, prosecuting, said: “The complainant, Mr Lester had been living at the address in Kidderminster for 10 years and the defendant was his neighbour in the flat above for about two years.

“Initially they got on but the defendant had been repeatedly playing loud music and had been asked several times to turn it down.

“At around 10.30 in the evening, Mr Lester had been watching TV but even with headphones, could still hear the loud music. He went to go upstairs but the music appeared to be turned down, however at 11pm the music started again.”

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When Mr Lester went upstairs, he knocked on White’s door before turning around to go back downstairs. On his way down, he heard White’s door open and saw him coming out holding the blade.

Mr Aspinall said the defendant appeared drunk and swore at him. When this happened, Mr Lester ran back down to his own flat and locked the door behind him.

White then proceeded to come downstairs and start banging on Mr Lester’s door, shouting “I will bury this in your skull”.

White, who the court heard listens to loud music because of his poor hearing, eventually went back to his flat, at which point Mr Lester called the police, who went to White’s flat and found two large machetes in his kitchen, both between 11 and 12 inches long.

The court heard these were from a military memorabilia collection he owned.

White pleaded guilty to making the threat to kill, and was also sentenced for criminal damage to Mr Lester’s front door.

Judge James Burbidge decided not to jail White despite the offence carrying a recommended four year prison sentence, saying he had significant mental health problems and had tried to get his life back on track.

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He handed White a 16-month suspended sentence as well as ordering him to pay £100 in compensation to Mr Lester.

He said: “Mercifully you did not get to Mr Lester. Whether you would have used the machete or not, who knows?

“There had clearly been some issue between you and him over your playing of loud music, when all he wanted was to live his life in peace.

“I accept you have hearing issues, but as you accept, you were playing your music louder than you needed to and you lost your temper.

“You yourself have a number of mental health issues, and although you probably deserve to go to prison, it was wholly unacceptable what you did, you are going to avoid an immediate custodial sentence.”

The court also heard how White is now in supported accommodation in Sutton Coldfield, so no restraining order was imposed as it was unlikely he and Mr Lester would see each other now he has moved.