A jilted boyfriend took a knife with him to a meeting with his ex partner in a Barnstaple car park after threatening to slit her throat.
Anthony Hopkins arranged the midnight meeting with Naomi Desmond but left the knife in his back pocket when he grabbed her by the throat.
He had earlier sent her threatening messages in an exchange of calls and texts, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Hopkins, aged 34, of Boutport Street, Barnstaple, admitted two offences of assault by battery and one of having a knife in a public place.
He was jailed for six months, suspended for two years, ordered to do 80 hours unpaid community work and attend an anger management course as part of 12 months supervision.
He was also banned from contacting Miss Desmond by a one year restraining order.
Judge Phillip Wassall told him:”This offence happened in the close aftermath to the break down of a relationship when you had been drinking. There had been an earlier exchange of messages which resulted in you agreeing to meet.
“You took a knife knowing the situation you were likely to face. You had been drinking and this was a volatile situation. These were very dangerous circumstances in which you were emotionally stressed and acting out of character.
“You had been drinking and there was the potential that a situation would develop which may have triggered the use of the knife.
“However, you have already served the equivalent of six weeks in custody and this is your first criminal offence. You did not take the knife out. If you had done so, it would be a different story.”
Mr David Bowen, prosecuting, said Hopkins had been in a relationship with Miss Desmond, who is 21, for 18 months until it ended in April.
He said:”Within a day or so they were in contact with each other and during one conversation he heard voices in the background. He said he was going to slit her throat but despite this arrangements were later made to meet.”
Mr Bowen said Miss Desmond took a friend to the rendez-vous at a car park in Higher Maudlin Street, Barnstaple at around midnight and Hopkins assaulted both by grabbing them near their necks, without causing any serious injury.
During the encounter the victims noticed he had a knife in his back pocket and called the police who went to his home where he told them he took the knife because he was in fear of his life and had it in case he needed it.
Mr Richard Crabb, defending, said Hopkins had never been in trouble before and has been so shocked by the experience of being in custody since the incident he has voluntarily started an alcohol awareness course.
He said:”His girlfriend had ended the relationship the day before and not surprisingly he was in a depressed state. He felt rejected, neglected and emotionally disorientated and had been drinking.
“He felt her texts showed she was blowing hot and cold. He never produced the knife or threatened anybody with it.
“She told police she was gobsmacked he had it. He is not some young tearaway who carries a knife as a matter of course. His behaviour was a response to emotional turmoil.”