A man threatened to slit his sister’s throat as he struggled to cope after their mum suffered a heart attack.

Shocked family members looked on as Alan O’Connor brandished a knife and warned his sister: “You’ll be the first.”

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard that O’Connor, who had witnessed his dad being stabbed to death 11 years earlier, took his mum’s sudden illness badly and was drinking heavily.

O’Connor, 37, admitted threatening or abusive behaviour at the family home in Muirhouse Tower, Motherwell, on November 3.

Wendy McAdam, prosecuting, said O’Connor’s mum had been taken to hospital earlier in the day and had been kept in.

She told the court: “The accused’s sister Catherine had been visiting her mum in hospital and returned to the flat about 3pm.

“The accused was there with a number of family members and friends.

“Catherine O’Connor noted that he appeared to be under the influence of something and asked him to leave.

“The accused became annoyed at this and started to challenge people to fight.

“She told him to stop staring and he replied ‘Shut it. You’ll be the first one to get your throat slit’.

“Alan O’Connor went into the kitchen and picked up a knife from a drawer.

“He went back into the living room, holding the knife, but then threw it into a corner of the kitchen.

“His sister was scared and left the flat to contact the police.

“Officers found the accused in an intoxicated state and arrested him.”

Defence agent Diarmid Bruce said O’Connor’s mum had suffered a “severe” heart attack that day.

Happily, she has made a recovery.

Mr Bruce told the court: “Eleven years ago Alan O’Connor’s dad was murdered in the house in front of him by two men armed with knives.

“My client was held at knifepoint. That traumatic incident clearly had an impact on him.

“He took his mum’s heart attack badly and had a lot to drink.”

O’Connor, who also admitted an unrelated minor assault charge, spent three months in custody after his arrest.

Sheriff Mhairi Mactaggart said she took that, plus his family circumstances, into account. The sheriff decided to “step back” from imposing a prison sentence and instead ordered O’Connor to be supervised for two years and to attend addiction services.

He was also fined £210.