Ex-Premier League footballer Marcus Bent escapes jail over affray and cocaine possession
Former Premier League footballer Marcus Bent has escaped being sent to jail as he was sentenced for confronting two officers with a meat cleaver and a kitchen knife while in a "delusional" state under the influence of cocaine.
Bent, 37, pleaded guilty at previous hearings at Guildford Crown Court to possession of cocaine and affray.
He was sentenced to a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years, ordered to pay £500 compensation to each of the officers, £1,500 court fees, 200 hours community service, a two-month night-time curfew and a victim surcharge of £100.
Lee Harris, prosecuting, described how the ex-Everton, Ipswich and Charlton striker called 999 reporting that he had heard intruders in his flat in Claremont Lane, Esher, on September 13 last year.
But when police arrived, backed up by armed officers, they were initially unable to gain access to the property.
Mr Harris described how, as the officers were about to use a battering ram to force open the door, bare-chested Bent "flung" open the door and emerged with the two chef's knives with his "eyes wide, jaw clenched, his body rigid".
He added: "He was wild with rage."
Mr Harris said that one of the officers, fearing his colleague was about to be attacked, Tasered Bent as he swung the knives in their direction and continued to say he could see the intruders.
Mr Harris said that when officers checked the flat, no intruders were found but they found a small amount of cocaine.
Mr Harris said that Bent told police that "whilst watching television he heard footsteps from outside the back door, saw the door handle moving up and down, he panicked, thought someone was breaking in to his flat, grabbed the two knives, he said he called 999 saying there were intruders in his flat".
Mr Harris added that Bent, who admitted taking "two or three lines of cocaine" told police that "he genuinely expresses remorse for the circumstances he created, he never had any intention of hurting the officers".
Andrew Henley, defending, said that his client was no longer using cocaine and had self-medicated with the drug.
He said: "When his professional career ended, he is left with no direction in his life, he is left with a vacuum and in that vacuum issues from his upbringing arise, powerful, psychological matters relating to his upbringing, that is the issue he is trying to address and numb with the use of cocaine."
Judge Stephen Climie told Bent that he had lost his good character and his self-respect but praised him for his work with a youth football team.
He said: "Prior to these proceedings you were a man of good character, you have lost that good character and it may well be that you have lost a good deal of self-respect.
"You were self-medicating, unquestionably abusing illegal drugs. There may have been difficulties in your life as a much younger man or as a child but that in no way enables the court to condone the use of class A drugs."
The court heard that two charges of possessing bladed articles would be left to lie on file.
The ex-England Under 21 international played 574 games and scored 113 goals during his professional career at 14 different clubs including Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Blackburn Rovers.