A 37-YEAR-OLD man from Erith has avoided a jail sentence after he threatened to kill his girlfriend with an imitation firearm.

Owen Roberts of Frinsted Road was instead handed a community order with the condition he should have mental health assistance and be supervised for 18 months.

Woolwich Crown Court heard that Roberts visited his girlfriend’s house at around 9pm on December 23 last year after he had been drinking.

He knocked on her door before her cousin told him she would meet him to talk as her two-year-old child was upstairs.

However, he went outside and pointed the imitation gun at his girlfriend while threatening to kill her.

Roberts, who the court heard is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, was arrested by police shortly after.

Sentencing, Judge Charles Byers said: "It is plain to me that you are suffering from some kind of mental illness which needs treatment and help.

"If it were not the case then you would have attracted a substantial prison sentence.

"Fortunately we do not punish people for being ill in this country.

"It is my earnest hope that this is a one off.

"I have looked at your military and medical records and although you have served in a number of places, it is clear you have exaggerated to a certain extent, which may be due to your illness."

Roberts had previously pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.