THE dramatic race for police to catch a man who threatened to kill his neighbour because "voices" told him to, has been relived in court.

Christopher Carpenter was found standing in the elevator of his flat block holding a 4.5in kitchen knife after he phoned 999 himself saying he had been "told to kill someone".

Repeated calls back and forth resulted in police rushing to apprehend the 31-year-old before he could act on his threats against innocent neighbour Deborah Small.

The court heard how Carpenter - who was battling drug and alcohol abuse alongside a recently diagnosed personality disorder - had developed a "dangerous infatuation" with the woman.

Louise Johnson, prosecuting at Reading Crown Court on Friday, told the room how the defendant placed the first call at around 8.30pm on April 6.

She said: "He said that voices had told him to kill someone and it was the person who lived upstairs."

Carpenter then hung up the phone before numerous exchanges ended as the call operator heard him leave his flat in pursuit of Miss Small.

A statement from the operator said: "I can hear him walking, he is in the lift, he is in the lift."

When police swooped on the building they found Carpenter stood holding a knife in one of the lifts on the first floor of the Irving Court flat block in Wensley Road.

He was arrested before reaching the fifteenth floor where Miss Small shared a flat with her boyfriend.

The court heard how back in February 2014 after turning up to thank his neighbour for helping him clean some broken glass he arrived with a box chocolates.

Ms Johnson said: "30 to 40 minutes after he was let in by her partner and he took a knife into the kitchen and said 'you did not tell me you had a f***ing boyfriend."

Miss Small, who has since moved from the area in fear, said in a statement she has lost weight and refused to leave home alone following the ordeal.

Only months earlier Carpenter had served a 14-week prison sentence after threatening a woman he did not know using a key jammed between his fingers.

Michael Orsulik, defending said: "He was pretty much out of his head and did hear voices in his head telling him to kill the lady in question.

"But he said he actually had no intention of harming her and it was a cry for help and he wanted to end up in hospital."

Judge Paul Dugdale said: "Police were immediately dispatched and upon their arrival there you were in a lift that potentially could have gone up to where Miss Small was.

"You were armed with a knife and I consider that it is a very really risk that if the police had not arrived you would have gone to her flat and who knows what you would have done if she had opened the door."

Carpenter admitted to both charges of threatening to kill and possessing a bladed article in front of magistrates on June 19.

He was sentenced to 32 months' imprisonment for the threats to kill and eight months for possession of a bladed article, to be served consecutively.

An indefinite restraining order was also put in place barring Carpenter from having any contact with Miss Smalls.