A MAN who racially abused a woman and waved a knife at her has been given an 18-month community order.

Oliver Matthews, 51, of Mendips, Westcliff, hurled insults at the woman, who was a carer for one of his neighbours and waved a six-inch kitchen knife.

The woman was coming out of the flat of the man she was caring for when she was set upon by Matthews.

John Keele, prosecuting, said the woman was scared and stepped back and tried to run out of the flats when she saw how the defendant was acting.

He said: “Mr Matthews had his face screwed up and his teeth were gritted in a threatening way. The knife was pointing upwards in an intimidating way.

“The woman was on her own and she was scared, she was just going about her business and was set upon by the defendant.

"She ran down the corridor towards the door and he followed her shouting abuse and telling her to go back to her own country.

“One of the neighbour’s then came out of one of the flats and then the defendant stopped the abuse. He later denied it happened because he couldn’t remember any of the incident.”

Judge Owen Davies gave Matthews a six-month mental health treatment and he also ordered destruction of the knife.

Grant Benjamin, defending, said his client is normally in control of his mental health problems but on the day of the incident he had not taken his medication.

He added: “This is a very serious case and if it wasn’t for your mental health problems I would probably be handing you a prison sentence, but that is not going to do you any good.

“Experts have drafted me two reports on you and they say when you are on your medication you are in control of your behaviour.

“This must have been an extremely unpleasant experience for the woman who was just trying to do her job. She was not only insulted but she must have been very frightened.

“She deserved respect and I must warn you if you break this order you will come back before me and you could go to prison.”

He admitted racially aggravated abuse and posession of a knife.