FORMER Sheffield United striker Marcus Bent has escaped jail as he was sentenced for confronting two police officers with a meat cleaver and a kitchen knife while under the influence of drugs.
The ex-Premier League footballer, who played for the Blades in 1999/2000 and scored 20 goals for the club, had to be Tasered by officers as he swung the knives in their direction while in a ‘delusional’ state.
Bent, 37, pleaded guilty at previous hearings at Guildford Crown Court to possession of cocaine and affray.
He was sentenced to a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years, ordered to pay £500 compensation to each of the officers, £1,500 court fees, 200 hours community service, a two-month night-time curfew and a victim surcharge of £100.
Lee Harris, prosecuting, described how the ex-Everton, Ipswich and Charlton striker called 999 reporting that he had heard intruders in his flat in Claremont Lane, Esher, on September 13 last year.
But when police arrived, backed up by armed officers, they were initially unable to gain access to the property.
Mr Harris said that as the officers were about to use a battering ram to force open the door, bare-chested Bent ‘flung’ it open and emerged with the two chef’s knives with his ‘eyes wide, jaw clenched, his body rigid’.
He added: “He was wild with rage.”
One of the officers Tasered Bent as he swung the knives in their direction and continued to say he could see the intruders.
Mr Harris said that when officers checked the flat, no intruders were found but they found a small amount of cocaine.
He added that Bent told police that “he genuinely expresses remorse for the circumstances he created, he never had any intention of hurting the officers”.
Andrew Henley, defending, said that his client was no longer using cocaine and had self-medicated with the drug due to the ‘vacuum’ left from the end of his professional career.
Judge Stephen Climie told Bent that he had lost his good character but praised him for his work with a youth football team.
He said: “Prior to these proceedings you were a man of good character, you have lost that good character and it may well be that you have lost a good deal of self-respect.
“You were self-medicating, unquestionably abusing illegal drugs.”