Aldi security guard praised after aiding woman threatened in meat cleaver attack
Dominic Clarke was working in the car park of the Aldi store on Fitzwilliam Road, Rotherham when he heard the female screaming and shouting, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
After the altercation ended, Mr Clarke followed 41-year-old Simon Pokuta, who had been wielding the weapons, which had ten-inch blades, to a nearby house on Bethel Road.
Pokuta forced his way in and threatened a member of his extended family Frantisek Ziga with both blades before neighbours arrived to disarm him and push him out of the property, the court was told.
Police were quickly on the scene after Mr Clarke rang them and Pokuta, who lives on Fitzwilliam Road, was arrested.
“This incident must have been absolutely terrifying for members of the public and the public-spirited witness who alerted police,” said Mr Richard Thyne, defending.
Judge Sarah Wright asked prosecutor Mr Neil Coxon to pass on her remarks to Mr Clarke.
“He deserves to be commended for his actions,” she said.
Pokuta, a married father-of-five who was granted asylum in the UK after arriving from the Czech Republic, had spent the day drinking in Leeds with Mr Ziga and others, the court heard.
He accepted what he had done was wrong and told police he had punched Mr Ziga at his home and threatened him, but could not say why.
Pokuta went back home and armed himself with the weapons with his wife trying to stop him but he returned to Mr Ziga’s and threatened him again.
“He told police he felt ashamed and never intended to harm Mr Ziga or anyone else,” said Mr Coxon.
“His sole intention was to scare him. He accepts his actions were threatening to others both in the house and in the street.”
The weapons were confiscated by the police.
Mr Richard Thyne, mitigating, said Pokuta was a hard-working family man and worked nights in a recycling plant for relatively low pay to support his family.
Pokuta, who has no previous convictions, admitted affray and possessing offensive weapons on August 24 when he appeared at Sheffield on Monday.
Judge Wright told the defendant through an interpreter: “In interview you told the police you were thoroughly ashamed of your behaviour.
“It is clear you bitterly regret your actions.
“You were candid in interview and it is clear you were ashamed. You are a family man and know this sets a bad example to your children.”
She said custody would have a substantial effect on his family but carrying weapons in public and using them to frighten or threaten must be marked by a jail term.
However, the judge went on: “I have been persuaded that I can just and only just draw back from making that an immediate custodial sentence given your genuine remorse, your character and your family responsibilities.”
Pokuta was given a six-month jail term suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work and told to undertake a ten-day rehabilitation activity course.