Wollongong man pulled axe on couple: court

A violent criminal who chased a couple down Burelli Street, Wollongong, while wielding an axe, has told a court he was spat at by his alleged victim.

Police allege Robert James Wood "pulled an axe" on a man and woman after he argued with them in a supermarket car park about 11.40am on Saturday.

What started as a verbal run-in escalated when the 38-year-old allegedly returned to his car and got a large axe from the boot.

According to facts tendered to court, Wood then ran down Burelli Street in pursuit of the couple, who had crossed the road and walked in the direction of the cinema.

Wood reportedly caught up with the man and threatened to assault him while holding the axe to his own chest, the facts said.

He returned to the car park where police - responding to a number of urgent triple-0 calls - arrested him.

At the time he allegedly told them: "Yeh, I pulled an axe on him. He just came up to me kicking his pants and yelling abuse at me."

He was charged with one count each of affray and being armed with intent to commit an indictable offence.

Legal Aid solicitor Jonathan Kearney told Wollongong Local Court the male victim was having an argument with his female friend before reportedly spitting at Wood on Monday.

Making an application for bail, Mr Kearney said Wood required ongoing assistance for mental health issues and suffered from Scheuermann's disease, a painful degenerative condition.

The police prosecutor strongly opposed bail, describing the incident as an "unprovoked attack" that happened at a busy location.

The court heard Wood had at least four offences of violence on his record, including a conviction for an assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Magistrate Geraldine Beattie questioned the need for Wood to carry an axe in his car, particularly when he lived in a unit.

She also noted Wood's decision to retrieve an axe in response to the minor verbal altercation "really came from nowhere".

"It is a concern that in these circumstances he thought it was an appropriate response to that situation," she said.

Ms Beattie refused Wood bail, citing the severity of the allegations and the need to protect the community. 

The matter will return to court on April 1.

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