TWO men who threatened to rape and stab a group of children on a Colchester estate have avoided jail terms.

Steven Hughes, 24, of Walsingham Road, Colchester, admitted having a kitchen knife at Brooklands Estate on May 19.

David Woods, 31, of Berefield Way, Colchester, admitted threatening unlawful violence towards another person and causing them to fear for their personal safety on the same day.

Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard the men had been walking through the estate around 9.30pm when they got into a row with a group of children.

Frank O’Toole, prosecuting, said: “They were both being very abusive. One of them said he was going to rape the girls and the other was threatening to stab them.”

One of the mothers of the children then came out of her house and hit Woods over the head with a chair.

Julie Brice, mitigating, told the court the children had begun arguing with the pair and the parents had got involved after the men accused them of not being able to control them.

She said: “The children were being abusive. Then the parents came out and one of them hit Mr Woods with a chair leg. He was hurt quite badly and had a nasty injury to his head.”

The men, who were both drunk, were described by District Judge David Cooper as a “violent pair”.

He said: “I think they should both go to prison for threatening innocent people with violence and terrifying children like that.

“It must have been very frightening for the people living in Brooklands Estate.”

Woods, a trainee sound technician, was given a restraining order and told to stay away from the Brooklands area of Colchester. He was also fined £100 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 surcharge.

Hughes was given an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, a supervision order, which included 80 hours of unpaid work, and a restraining order not to go to the Brooklands Estate.