A man attacked his friend with a lamp and wielded a hatchet after being wrongly accused of dealing drugs, a court heard today.
Christopher Robinson smashed up furniture, ornaments and a television set at the victim's home in Belfast, prosecutors said.
Robinson, 43, of Hazelwood Avenue, Dunmurry, was put on probation for 18 months after pleading guilty to common assault and criminal damage charges.
He launched the attack on a neighbour and long-standing friend last November.
Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he entered the victim's flat, grabbed him by the throat and punched him about the head.
According to prosecutors he also struck the man with a table lamp.
"The injured party stated that the defendant produced a hatchet from his trouser leg and was holding it above his head as if to strike him," a prosecution lawyer said.
She claimed Robinson was only prevented from inflicting a blow by the intervention of another man at the scene.
Following his arrest the defendant told police: "I went at him with that axe, I was going to kill him."
An estimated £2,480 worth of damage was caused to the property.
Defence lawyer Padraig O Muirigh argued the incident was much less serious than first suspected.
Stressing that no charges of threat to kill or possession of a weapon was brought, he said Robinson had confronted the victim over false allegations of drug dealing.
"He asked him for the source of his information and the injured party wasn't forthcoming," the solicitor told the court.
Robinson never brandished an axe which had merely fell down out of his trousers, Mr O Muirigh claimed.
"This man had been on the drink and lost the run of himself," he said.
District Judge Rosalie Prytherch described the incident as frightening for the victim.
Imposing an 18-month probation order, she told Robinson he must also pay £200 compensation.