A man who threatened to stab a hotel employee in the heart while holding a large knife has been sentenced to almost six months’ jail.
The Bendigo Magistrates' Court last week heard a drug-affected Benjamin Snelson, 27, entered the Borough Club in Eaglehawk on June 29 and began collecting cigarette butts from the smoking area.
When questioned by a staff member, the court heard Snelson pulled a 26-centimetre knife from his jeans and held it up in a "threatening manner" before telling the employee "next time this will be in your heart".
Prosecutor Senior Constable Cherree Blair told the court Snelson was apprehended by police shortly after the incident, with the knife and a set of knuckle dusters in his possession.
Senior Constable Blair read a victim impact statement out in court.
"I just went to work on the day to do my job and not to have my life threatened," the statement read.
"I feel weak, emotional and sad. I feel sad that this has happened and affected me so much."
Snelson pleaded guilty to a number of charges including making threats to kill, possessing a prohibited weapon in a public place, possessing a controlled weapon in the vicinity of licensed premises, breaching two community corrections orders and acting in a matter prejudicial to police jail, among others.
Snelson was also sentenced for two separate thefts, which occurred in the months before the incident at the Borough Club, and two charges relating to his behaviour toward other inmates while in custody.
Defence lawyer Peter Cutting told the court the majority of Snelson’s crimes were tragic, “poverty offences” aside from the incident at the Borough Club, which he described as “terribly concerning”.
When discussing sentencing options, Mr Cutting said 12 months would be “like a life sentence” to his client, whose behaviour at the hotel was triggered by the loss of a close friend, who was effectively acting as Snelson’s carer, he told the court.
Senior Constable Blair told the court: “Mr Cutting used the word tragic, but what would be tragic is if he didn't spend enough time in jail to detox from drugs and was released and something devastating was to happen, that would be tragic.”
In sentencing Snelson to five months and 28 days in jail, Magistrate Sarah Leighfield said she hoped his mental health would stabilise while he was in custody.
Snelson had already served 20 days pre-sentence detention.