A drunken man who "became aggressive" shouting at his four-year-old grand daughter, grabbed a knife and threatened to kill his ex-wife, son and daughter before smashing up the family home has been jailed.

When 50-year-old Zbigniew Ciara returned home from work, in a bad mood and drunk on October 13, he began taking it out on his young granddaughter.

After his ex-wife, Zdislawa, who he still lived with, intervened he turned on her and the rest of the family.

Armed with a carving knife Ciara threatened his ex-wife, forcing the woman to lock herself in the upstairs bathroom along with her terrified grandchild, St Albans Crown Court heard yesterday (Tuesday).

Ciara, began kicking at the bathroom door in his home in North Western Avenue, Watford, shouting: "I'm going to kill you."

He shouted at his son and daughter: "I'm going to kill you too" when they intervened.

Andrea Scott Lynch, for the prosecution, told the court how Ciara's daughter Patricia bravely tried to disarm her father of the carving knife as he tried to get upstairs.

There was a struggle, but he was too strong for her and Ciara pushed past his teenage son on the stairs.

His teenage son Patrick, managed to get hold of the knife from his father and threw it to the other side of the room.

The young man called the police as Ciara "trashed" the house downstairs.

Ciara told police he had been under a lot of pressure due to poor health and financial problems.

He said in a prepared statement he did not intend to kill his wife, but needed to "blow off steam".

The court heard in mitigation Ciara had found the side effects of medication he was taking for depression difficult to cope with and stopped taking it properly.

Judge Bright QC jailed Ciara for 20 months and banned him from having any contact with his family.

Imposing an indefinite restraining order Judge Bright said it was up to Ciara to prove he had changed if he ever wanted to see his family again.

He said: "Having read the witness statements I have no doubt all members of the family there were petrified and feared for their lives.

"You drank a great deal before coming home that night and went completely out of control.

"In my judgement although of good character and your age and guilty plea an immediate custodial sentence is inevitable."

Judge Bright added: "Your family want no more to do with you at all.

"And I do not blame them for that. They do not want to see you again unless and until you change your behaviour.

"To an extent the future is in your hands.

"Having heard what I have from the prosecution I have taken the rather exceptional course and make a restraining order preventing any contact with them at all."