A CRAZED knifeman with a death wish has avoided prison after slashing a blade at two police officers while threatening to kill them.

A worried passenger dialled 999 after witnessing Robert Mountford, 40, clutching a knife and mumbling to himself on a bus in Broomfield, Chelmsford.

When officers boarded the bus a struggle ensued which left PC Luke Wilkinson with a cut to his right hand.

Richard Barrington, prosecuting at Chelmsford Crown Court, said Mountford later admitted he was hoping for "death by cop."

"They had the bus stopped, boarded it and some members of the public were alerted and at that point concerned about what was going on,” he said.

"Police officers then went to the rear of the bus where they encountered the defendant.

"They noticed immediately this defendant holding a knife in his right hand.

"They confronted him and asked him to put the knife down, he responded with words to this effect: 'I am going to f****** stab you and I'm going to f****** kill you.

"At that point the defendant stood up, knife still in hand, raised it and started walking towards the police officers while waving it around.

"He used what is described as a slashing movement.

"One PC responded by grabbing him to the neck area and forcing him to the back of the bus.

"The other PC assisted by pushing the defendant down to the floor.

"One officer wasn't sure what had happened to the knife so took the pre-emptive measure of punching the defendant straight to the face."

The bus was stopped and Mountford arrested in Main Road, Broomfield, in February.

When officers searched the troubled attacker, they found a further blade in his pocket.

Mr Barrington added: "The first knife was described as a pruning knife with a curved blade, plainly it was being used as a weapon.

"The second knife was a much smaller one, a variation on the Swiss army knife.

"Once the defendant was detained and had been searched, officers described apologising for punching him the face and explained why they had to do that.

"The defendant accepted these apologies and said they had both acted very professionally towards him.

"That attitude seemed to continue on the route to the police station, where one PC does describe his behaviour as changing completely.

"He was easy to speak to and quite chatty, he once again praised both officers for how they treated him.

"The defendant implied that he wanted death by cop, which is why he chose to behave the way he did on a bus with other people on it."

Mountford, Widford Chase, Chelmsford, admitted actually bodily harm, making threats to kill, possession of an offensive weapon and making threats with an offensive weapon.

Representing himself, Mountford spoke only to confirm the prosecution's account was "accurate."

Judge David Pugh imposed a community order of 18 months for each charge and ordered a 60-day rehabilitation activity requirement.