Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Teen who chased pregnant woman with axe while dressed as 'killer clown' is jailed

Michael March, 18, has been jailed for six months. Credit: PA

A teenager who chased a pregnant woman with an axe while dressed as a "killer clown" has been jailed for six months.

Michael March,18, is thought to be the first person to be imprisoned over the craze that swept the UK.

Police were called after he scared a couple walking past him as he banged an axe on the ground just after 9pm on the night before Halloween last year.

The woman, who was 22 weeks pregnant, threw a brick at him before he ran off.

Mr March told Newcastle Crown Court he accepted his actions were "foolish and reckless" and it must have been frightening for the couple.

March said it was a Halloween prank gone horribly wrong. Credit: PA

He said his first words when police apprehended him after they tracked him on CCTV were "I was not going to hurt anyone" and that "this was a Halloween prank gone horribly wrong".

Prosecutors told the court that March claimed it was a prank saying he had himself been chased by killer clowns in Gateshead and he thought he would scare people as part of a prank.

Vic Laffey, defending, said March had no previous convictions, that he lived with his grandparents and helped care for his grandfather.

He had tried to convince the judge that he should have avoided jail, as at the time of the offence he was 17-years-old.

However Judge Jamie Hill QC said it was so serious only a custodial sentence was appropriate.

Judge Hill added: "Brandishing an axe and threatening people in the street is serious whatever the context."

"The fact you were wearing a clown mask is an aggravating factor because it increased the fear they would have experienced and secondly it was a way of disguising who you were," he said.

Credit: PA

The craze that swept the UK led to a deluge of calls to Childline from youngsters left terrified by the sinister phenomenon as well as dozens of reports to police.

A 10-year-old boy in Plymouth was threatened by a clown who jumped out of a bush carrying a hammer, while in Workington, Cumbria, a clown brandishing an axe chased an 11-year-old girl.

Kent Police saw 59 clown-related incidents between October 7 and 10, Thames Valley Police had 14 reports in 24 hours, and South Yorkshire Police said it had received 61 reports.