A MUM-of-one threatened to 'chop people up' after getting an axe out of her handbag when trouble erupted outside a Colne house party, a court heard.

Drunken Denise Stephenson, 39, was said to have been trying to attack people with the weapon in the early rumpus on Oak Street. When she was later arrested, she claimed to the police her husband had been set upon by a large group from the property, Burnley Crown Court was told.

Stephenson, of Varley Street, Colne, had earlier admitted affray and possessing an offensive weapon, last July 13.

The defendant has almost 30 offences on her record and was jailed for four years for wounding with intent in 2001. She received six months in prison, suspended for a year, with 12 months' supervision.

Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said a number of people in their late teens and early 20s were at the party. At about 2.15am, the defendant ended up on the front street near the property, with her partner.

It was suggested he had thrown a glass at the front of the house and there had been some banging on the door, causing some of the occupants to leave.

An exchange took place in the street. The prosecutor continued: "Whatever may have gone on, this defendant then produced an axe from her handbag.

It was never recovered, but was described as one foot in length in total and was produced from a large, shoulder-type handbag."

Mr Parker said Stephenson brandished the axe above her head and said: "I'm going to chop you all up."

She was clearly drunk, was unsteady in her feet and people tried to get her to put the weapon down. One of the people at the party came out with a chair leg to try and fend the defendant away.

A resident of the street said he saw her trying to attack a number of people. Police were called, later went to Stephenson's home and found her smelling strongly of alcohol.

The defendant exercised her right to silence when questioned. She was picked out by two witnesses on an identification parade. Stephenson had 27 offences on her record, but had not been in trouble for 12 years.

Richard Taylor, for Stephenson, said she maintained some people came out of the house and attacked her husband.

Sentencing Stephenson, Recorder John Bromley-Davenport, QC, said of the incident :" That was very disgraceful behaviour and it's fortunate that nobody was actually injured."

The judge said the defendant obviously had problems with drink and drugs and had a lot of family responsibilities.