‘You caused terror to staff and customers alike,’ said a judge as he jailed a 28-year-old man for brandishing a ‘monstrous’ machete at a Sheffield branch of McDonald’s.
“Employees working at places like McDonald’s often have to deal with drunken customers, especially in the early hours of the morning, and they have a right to be protected,” Recorder Darren Preston told defendant Dale Hutchinson as he sentenced him to 12 months in prison.
Sheffield Crown Court heard how Hutchinson was intoxicated on a cocktail of cocaine and alcohol when he took out the machete at the McDonald’s at the Drake House Retail Park, Waterthorpe in the early hours of September 16 this year.
“You were drunk. It could have spiralled out of control very quickly and very easily,” said Recorder Preston, adding: “You were in a public place where people go to eat, where children go to eat. At that time of the morning there are likely to be people who have had something to drink, and so those were circumstances where there was a real risk of disorder.”
The court heard how witnesses told police they saw Hutchinson, 29, laughing about ‘scaring the living daylights out of people’ during the course of the incident.
After producing the machete Hutchinson left the 24-hour McDonald’s.
Prosecutor Michael Tooley described how the police arrived Hutchinson’s address shortly after the incident and was found to still be in possession of the machete.
The machete was said to be 15 inches long by some witnesses, and was described as being a ‘monstrous’ weapon by Recorder Preston.
Hutchinson, of Ochre Dike Lane, Waterthorpe pleaded guilty to having a bladed article in a public place at an earlier hearing.
Nicola Hunter, defending, told the court that Hutchinson was suffering from depression at the time of the incident, and had come to realise ‘the seriousness of his actions’ after spending the last two months in prison on remand.
“This is not a man who is ordinarily going out looking for fights, upsetting people or carrying weapons,” she said.
Ms Hunter told Recorder Preston that Hutchinson’s sentence could be suspended, due to his early guilty plea and the remorse he feels.
But this assertion was rejected by Recorder Preston who said he would not be ‘failing in his public duty’ if he were to suspend the sentence, given the serious nature of the offence.
Recorder Preston told Hutchinson: “You caused terror to staff and customers alike.”
“There’s a spate of young people getting killed with weapons like this, and less serious bladed articles, in this country at the moment.”
He added: “The message has to go out that if you go out behaving like this in public there will be serious consequences.”