August 4, 2020 4.53 pm This story is over 45 months old

Man jailed for threatening to kill wife and child with meat cleaver

He had previous charges for assaulting his wife

A man from Sleaford who threatened to kill his estranged wife and daughter with a meat cleaver has been jailed for 16 months.

Colin Merritt, who was visiting his estranged wife to discuss issues arising from their pending divorce, suddenly turned violent.

Catherine Picardo, prosecuting, said that Merritt initially picked up a knife and waved it around saying he was going to kill them.

His wife took the knife from him but Merritt went to the kitchen drawer and took out a meat cleaver.

Miss Picardo said: “He went over to the women brandishing it.

“He held the meat cleaver 10 cms from his daughter’s face. She was too frightened to say anything.

“Her mother told him to stop but he held the meat cleaver towards her and then started to sharpen the cleaver.

“He took hold of his daughter by the hair and said he was going to cut her.”

Miss Picardo said the daughter was terrified and had a panic attack. She and her mother then fled to their car and called the police.

When officers arrived at the house in the Sleaford area Merritt was co-operative and was arrested.

The incident in October 2019 occurred six months after an earlier matter in which Merritt assaulted his estranged wife and their son after becoming aggressive when a takeaway meal failed to arrive.

Merritt, 52, whose address was given as Olive Road, Norwich, admitted two charges of making a threat to kill on October 23 2019.

He also admitted two charges of assault by beating on May 25 last year. He was jailed for 16 months.

Judge Simon Hirst, passing sentence, told him: “It has to be a custodial sentence. You simply cannot behave like this towards family members. What you did that day will live with them forever.”

Neil Sands, in mitigation, urged that any jail sentence should be suspended.

He said that since the incident Merritt has moved out of the area and has sought help for his issues.

Mr Sands said: “He appears now to have returned to a law abiding lifestyle. He has realised that what took place was extremely serious and he has sought help. This is a man who has had problems with alcohol.”