A judge refused to release a man he called a ‘ticking time bomb’ despite psychologists advising he was no danger to the public.

Lewes Crown Court was told yesterday that Michael Tongeman, 32, previously of Whitehawk Crescent, Brighton, was safe to be released into the community.

This was despite Tongeman walking through Brighton with a samurai sword – which he waved in the air three times – and yelling obscenities at his neighbours after they asked him to stop throwing bits of furniture in the middle of the road.

Police also found petrol bombs in his council home.

Yesterday Judge Richard Haywood refused to sentence Tongeman for one count of affray in relation to the wood-throwing incident in September 2012 and one count of possessing an offensive weapon in relation to the sword incident in August 2012.


He said he would not deal with him until he had looked psychologists “in the eyes” and they had explained why Tongeman was not dangerous – branding him “a disaster waiting to happen” and a “ticking time bomb”.

Speaking about Tongeman – who has 11 convictions for 47 offences – Judge Haywood said: “He has delusional ideas about his neighbours. Petrol bombs were found in his home. He is a high risk of offending. He made terrible threats.”

He dismissed claims in a psychiatrist’s report from February this year that Tongeman was “not any real risk” – and said he found this synopsis “troubling”.

He continued: “It seems to me he is a ticking time bomb.”

He added if Tongeman was released there was the potential for a “disaster”, and added the public would be at risk.

Tongeman was sent to a medium security hospital until his next hearing on July 19.