A man who threatened to set a neighbour’s car alight was feeling suicidal, a court heard.
Darren Walsh, 48, was confronted by the partner of Amy Womersley on July 5 after he was spotted pouring a liquid that smelled of petrol onto her vehicle on Bradford Road in Birkenshaw.
Walsh, of the same street, admitted threatening to damage or destroy property at Kirklees Magistrates Court.
According to Andy Wills, prosecuting, the victim had only been living in her house for three weeks and first noticed Walsh acting strangely when a takeaway was delivered for her and some friends at 10pm.
He came out of his house and started to shout at the driver and kick his car before he drove off.
The party then heard a noise at 11pm and noticed Walsh pouring liquid on Ms Womersley’s car.
Her partner went outside, where he noticed that the liquid smelled of petrol and that Walsh had a lit cigarette in his mouth and a lighter in his pocket that he could be heard flicking.
He managed to calm Walsh down and called the police.
Walsh then admitted that he had drunk eight pints and taken some medication because he felt suicidal over not having seen his children for nine months.
He told Ms Womersley’s partner that he didn’t intend to set fire to the car.
Defending, Rachel Sharpe said: “He has admitted that he has a drink problem.
“He said that the pair got off on the wrong foot and that no further incidents will take place.
“What he did was a cry for help.”
Brian Hughes, lead magistrate, sentenced Walsh to a community order.
“You must discuss it with probation but it must include an alcohol treatment requirement and 33 days of activity.
“Initially, after reading your report I wanted to send you to prison due to the seriousness of this but have changed my mind having heard the mitigation.
“There’s still the option to send you to prison if you breach the order.”
He was also fined £85 in court costs and an £85 surcharge.