A CHEF trained by Jamie Oliver has been sentenced today (Tuesday, April 7) after a “drunken” rampage saw him brandish a knife at his housemate.

Jack O’Neill gave Judge Emma Nott at Reading Crown Court permission to sentence him in his absence because he was in isolation in Bullingdon Prison in Bicester with symptoms of coronavirus.

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Sitting in court, Judge Nott heard that O'Neill was trained by Jamie Oliver under his pioneering London-based Fifteen restaurant scheme, where young trainee chefs embarking on a new life, were taught.

O'Neill was in court after brandishing a cooking knife at his housemate and punching him several times at home in Caversham.

Prosecutor Julian Lynch told the court over Skype how O'Neill had been drinking at the local pub with housemate, Jonathan China.

Mr China was asked to escort the defendant home after he bothered staff, which caused an argument.

“Mr China punched the defendant in the back of the head,” said Mr Lynch.

O'Neill – who was living with the China family at the time in Brackstone Close, Caversham – rushed back to the house claiming he was going to stab Mr China and armed himself with two cooking knives, the court heard.

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“Jonathan’s brother Graham tried to keep the pair apart but he had a panic attack and could not continue.

“It was at that point the defendant punched Jonathan four times in the face as well as swinging a knife,” prosecuting counsel added.

O'Neill was arrested by police and admitted assault causing actual bodily harm at an earlier plea and trial preparation hearing.

Defending, Peter Du Feu said: “Mr O’Neill was put into foster care at the age of two, his mother died when he was five years old and his father died from alcohol-related problems.”

Judge Nott said: “The incident took place some time ago and what occurred was a drunken fight with a friend.

“It is fair to say that the first person to strike a physical blow was the complainant.

She continued: “Mr O’Neill made threats to several people that he was going to stab him and armed himself with a knife, which raised the temperature back at their home address where they were living together with Mr China’s family.

"Ultimately, Mr O’Neill punched him several times to the face and had in his hand a knife.

“The only injury appears to be a black eye and pin prick wound.

“His other convictions do not give great confidence but I am prepared to give him a chance because of the circumstances.”

O’Neill, now of Frith Lane, Mill Hill, East London, was given a six-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months and he must complete 120 hours of unpaid work.

Despite the potential risk of carrying coronavirus, the defendant was to be released immediately.

The judge ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the cooking knives and said: “If he wants to use them for his job then he will have to buy new ones.

“Maybe it will teach him not to be so stupid and criminal in drink.”