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'Teenager in clown mask brandished axe at pregnant woman'

The 'killer clown' craze was sweeping the nation at the time of the alleged incident Credit: PA

A teenager wearing a clown mask brandished an axe at a pregnant woman leaving her so scared she threw a brick at him, a court heard.

Michael March, 18, joined in the so-called killer clown craze the night before Halloween and banged his axe on the floor to scare a couple walking past at 9.10pm.

He admitted possession of a bladed article at a hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court and will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court next month.

March, who was 17 at the time, waited for the couple in the car park of the Sand Dancer pub in Sea Road, South Shields, prosecutor Paul Anderson said.

The offence was carried out at a time when the killer clown craze was sweeping the nation, the court heard.

The woman, who was 22 weeks pregnant, called police and told them "she had been chased by a male wearing a clown mask, brandishing an axe".

Two youths ran off and were traced on CCTV before March was arrested. He was found to be still in possession of the axe and had the mask in his backpack.

He told police: "I'm sorry, I was not going to hurt her."

March will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court next month. Credit: PA

Mr Anderson said March, from Gateshead, told police that he "had this axe and he was banging it on the floor to scare people".

Mr Anderson said: "It had the desired effect because she picked up a brick and threw it at him.

"He tried to explain it was a prank and ran off in something of a panic.

"He said it was all meant to be a joke that went badly wrong."

Magistrates declined to sentence him and sent the case to the crown court on February 6. He was granted unconditional bail.

He had been due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court for possession of an offensive weapon on a previous occasion but the case was sent back to magistrates because it was decided the appropriate charge was possession of a bladed article.