A COMPANY director who slashed a landlord in the face with a knife after he had ejected him from his pub for being abusive to customers has been jailed.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Alan James Doult, a director at Colne-based Valley Robotics, had gone into the Tapsters Promise alone at 8.30pm on September 26.

Prosecuting, Stephen Parker said there were a few people in the pub and Doult, who appeared to be drunk, ordered a pint and sat down at a table with people he didn’t know.

After seeming pleasant, 55-year-old Doult’s behaviour soon changed and he got engaged in a conversation in “a way that caused issues”.

Mr Parker said: “He referred to himself as being more intellectual than they were. He made derogatory comments about transgender people, saying they had mental health issues.”

Mr Parker said as customers began to be antagonised by Doult’s behaviour, the pub’s landlord, Oliver Brooks, asked him to leave.

But as he was refusing to go quietly, Mr Brooks took the decision to physically eject Doult.

As he did so, Doult said: “I know where you live.”

The court heard that a short time later Doult returned to the pub in New Market Street, Colne, with a lock knife.

Mr Parker said there was a confrontation between Doult and Mr Brooks as soon as the defendant re-entered the pub. Mr Brooks spotted the knife as Doult got close to him and saw that the defendant wielding it upwards towards his face.

Mr Parker said Mr Brooks instinctively punched Doult in the face causing the defendant to fall backwards.

Mr Brooks grabbed Doult’s hand and pushed the knife downwards, forcing him to the floor.

As he did so Mr Brooks shouted: “He’s got a knife.”

Still on the floor Doult, of Hartley Street, Colne, lunged towards Mr Brooks, but he managed to push the weapon away. The knife deflected into nearby padded seating.

At that point one of the customer came over and attempted to prise the knife from Doult, but it took him a few minutes to take it from the determined defendant’s hand.

Mr Parker said the police were called and as he waited for them to arrive Doult appeared to come to his senses, repeatedly saying how sorry he was.

Mr Brooks initially feared he had received a serious cut to the face, but it turned out to be a four-inch scratch. He also had a cut under his nose.

Mr Parker said: “He felt in real danger. He thought the defendant was trying to kill him. He was swinging the knife towards him. He said that during the incident the defendant had behaved like he was possessed.”

When Doult was interviewed by police he maintained he had only intended to frighten his victim.

Doult, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Defending, Philip Holden said his client had set up a business with his sons in the robotics industry and had managed to secure contracts with Nissan. Mr Holden said: “He has expressed his remorse.”

Judge Richard Gioserano jailed Doult for nine months.