Halloween thug wore creepy mask and wielded meat cleaver while demanding cash

A man wearing a horrifying Halloween mask, brandishing a huge meat cleaver and with blood on his hands, terrified members of the public.

Ben McCabe, 29, from Sunderland, was jailed for three years and four months for his antics.

ChronicleLive reports how a court heard McCabe was "full of hell" and had warned he was "going to kill someone before long" during an angry confrontation with his father, who had tried to disarm him, in January.

The 29-year-old, who told his dad he had just been punched by someone and had blood on his face, damaged the front door with the large, bladed weapon before he left the house.

McCabe then proceeded to turn his fury on people nearby, who were forced to flee in fear.

Prosecutor Jessica Slaughter told the court McCabe first approached two sisters who were talking in a parked car in Sunderland.

She said: "The defendant approached the driver's side, wearing a black Halloween mask, carrying a meat cleaver. He had blood on his hands.

"He pulled the meat cleaver up, hitting the driver's side window, shouting and demanded money. He struck the car several times, until the driver was able to compose herself and she could drive away."

The court heard McCabe then targeted a mother and daughter who had heard his demands for money.

Miss Slaughter added: "The defendant approached them and shouted 'what the f**k are you looking at, get back in your f*****g house' and began to ran towards them, still holding the meat cleaver.

"They ran in the house and locked the front door. The defendant smashed the window of the front door and was seen running away."

The mum said in a victim statement: "I kept thinking what if I didn't get in the house and get the door closed in time, what would have happened?"

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Her daughter said she felt "terror and panic" and added: "I am still in shock over what happened and having flashbacks. It was like a horror film. I will never forget how scared I was, I thought I was going to die."

Police found the 29-year-old hiding in nearby woodland and he later admitted to having a bladed article, criminal damage, attempted robbery and affray.

The court heard McCabe has mental health problems which are made worse by substance abuse.

Tony Cornberg, defending, said McCabe has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital in the past, still receives mental health support in the community and is making "some progress" in coming off drink and drugs.

He added: "There are lines he could have crossed with that weapon and he didn't.”

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