A MAN has narrowly avoided jail after he brandished an eight-inch knife at a woman police officer and threatened to kill her.

Basildon Crown Court yesterday heard PC Watson was “extremely frightened” as Richard Ward, 39, threatened her with the kitchen knife in Cricketers Way, Basildon, in the early hours of January 12.

The drama unfolded after Ward dialled 999 and told the operator he was going out with a knife and if police tried to stop him someone would be stabbed.

Laureen Husain, prosecuting, told the court Ward left his home at about 2am armed with a black handled eight-inch kitchen knife.

He and pal Michael Stiant walked towards Cricketers Way while he brandished the knife at a passer-by.

The court heard one person became scared and flagged down a police car, driven by PCWatson.

PC Watson tracked Ward to Cricketers Way.

Ward spotted her and made stabbing motions towards her with the knife.

The court heard PC Ward radioed for back-up and Essex Police dog handler, PC Finch, arrived in his police car.

When Ward spotted the car he made stabbing motions towards PC Finch and shouted: “I am going to do you. I am going to kill you.”

Quick-thinking PC Finch rolled his car forward, forcing Ward to jump back. He then leapt from his car with police dog Cody.

Ward started lunging towards the three, threatening to stab and kill them.

However, PC Finch told him to put down the knife or he would release Cody, before other officers arrived, Tasered Ward and arrested him.

In interview, Ward told officers he did not remember much of the incident because he had drunk nine cans of Budwiser and a bottle of wine. Stiant was handed a caution for obstructing police.

Ward admitted threatening two police officers in execution of their duty at an earlier hearing.

Matthew Bowman, mitigating, told the court his client accepted the Crown’s account of what happened.

Ward, of Fenners Way, in Basildon, was handed a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

Judge John Lodge said he was able to suspend Ward’s prison sentence so he could complete an alcohol treatment course with the Essex Probation Service.

He said: “The minimum sentence for this offence is six months in prison, but in light of this appalling incident your sentence must be longer.

“Courageous police officers were put at risk because there was a drunk man on the streets brandishing a knife.

“Quite rightly, you were arrested and remanded by the Magistrates’ Court.

“You have started to deal with your alcohol issues in prison and I take the view it is a harder sentence for you to undergo intensive treatment in the community.”