LEADING Gympie real estate agent Matt Perin on Monday lost his livelihood, his reputation and much of his liberty after terrorising a woman with an axe last year.
Matthew Pietro Perin, 43, of Monkland, pleaded guilty to common assault on August 8 last year.
Gympie Magistrate M Baldwin said Perin's previously non-existent criminal history had "gone from zero to 100kmh in one second" when he brandished the axe.
Prosecuting sergeant Lisa Manns said the woman had both been "absolutely terrified" as Perin chopped into lounge chair cushions and then feinted with the axe, as though he was going to strike the woman in the head.
The woman was screaming in terror, Sgt Manns said.
Perin "moved the axe back and forth in a way that made it appear he was about to strike the woman," she said.
Barrister Jason Todman said the incident occurred after the woman's father had threatened to kill Perin.
Mr Todman said a criminal conviction would by law prevent Perin from practising as a real estate agent and auctioneer.
"He had no intention of hurting her and the violence was limited to furniture."
Mr Todman presented a reference from Noosa Deputy Mayor Bob Abbot, who expressed surprise at the charges, describing them as "out of character".
A letter from his boss, Raine and Horne Gympie owner Helene Faint, confirmed the likely effect of a criminal conviction on Perin's employment, Mrs Baldwin said.
Calling for a jail term, Sgt Manns said: "It's clear the higher courts have held that prison (including suspended) is not out of range."
Mr Todman asked for a substantial fine or lengthy probation.
Mrs Baldwin noted the three-year maximum penalty for common assault, which was the charge involved.
"You produced an axe, smashed up cushions and held the axe over her head, with her screaming in fear," she told Perin. "Nothing can take away from the fear they felt.
"You may say you would never kill (her) but she wouldn't have known this.
"They fled outside and you followed.
"Production of an axe, holding it the way you did and using it the way you did takes this case to what I consider to be a very serious issue.
"You are clearly of good character and working hard, but the big factor is the effect on others."
She sentenced Perin to six months jail, suspended for two years, with six months probation.