A Salford woman has been left living in fear after her neighbour threatened to throw her from the balcony of their block of flats before charging at her with a knife.

Mark Andrew Riches, of Haddon Road in Eccles, appeared before a judge at Manchester Crown Court on January 18 charged with affray and possession of a blade.

The 60-year-old had been celebrating his birthday weekend on October 30 when an incident erupted between him and his neighbours.

The court heard how the previous day (October 29), Riches had drunkenly sworn at his neighbour Louise Dalby, leaving her distressed.

Wanting an apology for his behaviour the following day, Ms Dalby and another neighbour, Chloe Fox, attended Riches’ flat where they told him he could not behave like that.

Prosecuting, Duncan Wilcock said: “The defendant raised his left arm and pushed into the left shoulder of Louise Dalby.

“The defendant asked them to leave which they did. He then followed the two females out. He said to Ms Dalby ‘I’ll throw you off the balcony’.

“He was trying to persuade her to go closer to it, but she walked away and felt fearful as to what he would do to her if she was closer to him.”

Around 30 minutes later Ms Dalby said she saw the defendant outside, where he was holding a knife, added Mr Wilcock.

She heard Riches say, ‘I’ll kill you’ and began to run towards both Ms Dalby and Ms Fox and to where a group of men were also standing.

In a victim statement, Ms Dalby said: “The whole incident has left me scared. I still have to live there, and I’m worried about what he may do. He may try to come for me again.”

Ms Fox, who had formed a ‘friendship of sorts’ with Riches before the incident, said that she had noticed he was drinking almost every day.

His defence barrister, Mr Fireman, said that Riches had been ‘barred’ from living in Eccles following the incident, but that he had found support and housing through the Project 34 organisation.

“He had recently caught Covid and that helped his position a bit as he had to self-isolate for seven days and his food was brought to him – so he couldn’t go out and buy alcohol,” said Mr Fireman.

“He has turned 60 and this was the outcome of his 60th birthday celebrations.”

Sentencing judge, Recorder Macadam, said Riches was getting “too old for this” behaviour, noting that many of his previous crimes had been committed when he was drinking.

He said he believed that with the help of probation, Project 34 and Loaves and Fishes, a registered Salford charity with which Riches is already engaged, he would be able to get the help he needs.

He added that the incident could have ended very differently.

“All it needed was for someone else in drink deciding that they weren’t having any of this and taking the knife off you. Before you know it, somebody is dead,” he said.

He sentenced Riches to 15 months imprisonment suspended for two years. As part of his community order, he will be required to carry out 20 days of rehabilitation activity.

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