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Felixstowe: Rage over Grand Theft Auto game led to man brandishing knife and hammer while threatening to slit friend’s throat, court told

15:11 18 March 2014

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

Archant

A Felixstowe man brandishing a kitchen knife and claw hammer threatened to “kill someone” after allegedly becoming enraged playing a violent computer game.

Neil Dugdale, of Graham Road, is now facing a likely jail term after Ipswich magistrates heard he wielded the weapons in the street outside the home of a friend he was playing Grand Theft Auto with.

The court heard the 31-year-old, who had consumed a cocktail of cider, cannabis and anti-depressants, had become involved in an online altercation with Adam French.

Prosecutor Lesla Small said the incident occurred at 5.30pm on Friday.

Adam French, the focus of Dugdale’s anger, lives in Seaton Road which joins on the Graham Road.

Dugdale made threats to Mr French online telling him he was going to slit his throat, the court heard.

Ms Small told magistrates Grand Theft Auto is “quite a violent game in nature”, adding: “It’s like a virtual city. There’s gang violence, street fighting and stealing cars.”

Mr French was at home when Dugdale arrived outside his address.

Ms Small said Dugdale allegedly shouted: “I’m going to slit your throat – I’m going to ******* kill you.”

Mr French allegedly swore at Dugdale telling him to go away.

At the time Dugdale was holding a large red-handled kitchen knife and swinging a claw hammer around.

He was stabbing the knife in the top of the garden fence while shouting at Mr French to come down.

When Mr French’s sister came out Dugdale smashed the front passenger window of her Renault Clio.

The blade of the knife he was holding was said to have been eight to 10 inches long.

Magistrates heard Dugdale raised the hammer about his head leading Mr French’s sister to retreat inside the property.

Ms Small said when Dugdale arrived home his mother saw him at the kitchen sink washing blood from his hand. He had seemed angry and the knife and hammer were on the floor with blood on the knife’s handle.

When police first arrived at the scene they saw Dugdale walking down the centre of the road carrying the weapons in an aggressive manner.

As they approached him he was swearing about someone and asking for help.

Dugdale leaned on their car as they got out and began flailing his arms. Although he then calmed down, Dugdale flared up again and began struggling and swearing, threatening the officers by saying he would butt them.

Mark Holt, representing Dugdale, said his client did not accept that he and Mr French had been playing Grand Theft Auto. Dugdale claimed he had become angry because he had twice confided in Mr French only for his confidences to have been betrayed.

Mr Holt said he had no doubt it had been “frightening for those who witnessed the incident, but in reality it was all words and bluster”.

Dugdale admitted affray, two counts of possessing an offensive weapon, criminal damage and resisting arrest. He was told his case would be sent to crown court for sentencing.

When Dugdale’s application for bail was denied he swore loudly at the magistrates as he was taken away.

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