A ‘PATHETIC attention seeker’ who held a knife to a young mum’s stomach while she was with her one-year-old baby has been jailed for four years.

Neil Diaz was struggling at work and been rejected by a potential partner in September when he bizarrely decided he wanted to scare someone and tell them he was having suicidal thoughts in an act of twisted revenge against women.

He spent 90 minutes prowling the Asda supermarket in Turner Rise, Colchester, before selecting the victim.

Diaz, 58, followed her to her car as she began unloading her shopping, told her to get in the passenger seat and held the seven-inch serrated blade towards her stomach.

The woman locked her son in the vehicle and screamed, causing Diaz to flee.

He headed to Colchester North Station in what he said was a bid to take his own life, but claimed he was thwarted because the train he got on did not stop at Marks Tey.

Diaz exchanged texts with the woman who had spurned his advances and his parents who convinced him to hand himself in.

He disposed of the knife at Chelmsford Railway Station and got back on a train and was later arrested.

While being cautioned he said: “I didn’t touch her sexually.”

His car was found to have another knife and a hammer in the boot.

Diaz eventually admitted to two counts of attempted false imprisonment relating to mother and baby, threatening the woman with a knife and possession of the knife found in his car.

Barry Gilbert, mitigating at Ipswich Crown Court, said Diaz, of Roosevelt Way, Colchester, was now a changed man.

“At the time he was suffering a complete depressive breakdown and was behaving completely out of character,” he said.

“This was not somebody out for personal gain – he was, rather pathetically, looking for somebody to talk to.

“This is undoubtedly not the way to go about it but he never intended to hurt her or the child.

“The moment she screamed he lost his nerve.

“He will never do anything like this again.”

The court heard Diaz’s only convictions came in the 1980s where he had committed criminal damage and indecently assaulted woman on the London Underground.

Judge Martyn Levett said: “Who knows what would have happened if there had been a wrong move, wrong look, wrong comment or a loss of control by you.

“You wanted to tell her about your life of rejection.

“Having been rejected so many times you were willing to make up a list of sorry excuses like that your cat had cancer.

“I am convinced you’re an attention seeker and had no intention of committing suicide.”