A COMPANY boss had to be talked away from the edge of a roof at a Hampshire shopping centre after an armed confrontation with his estranged wife, a court heard.

Christopher Winbourne, 44, arranged to meet his wife, Joanne, in a coffee shop to discuss their relationship, which had foundered after 17 years.

Initially they sat by the till, where she felt safe, but then he moved and she followed him, making it clear she no longer wanted to be with him and was seeking a divorce.

Prosecutor Anthony Bailey said Winbourne, managing director of Formation Freight Services, jumped up and grabbed her by the arm.

Looking over his shoulder, she realised he had a knife which he held against her arm and inflicted a small cut.

He then walked off as she shouted for help from staff and shoppers as she warned he had a knife.

The court heard how Winbourne then walked up to the roof of the shop at Eastleigh’s Swan Centre, where he was found by police who had been called in.

Mr Bailey told Southampton Crown Court: “They told him to drop the knife which he did and they eventually talked him away from the edge of the parapet and he was arrested.”

Winbourne, of Lower St Helens Road, Hedge End, admitted possessing an offensive weapon and assault by beating.

He received a 12-month suspended sentence with 18 months’ supervision and he cannot contact Joanne for five years except through solicitors.

He was ordered to pay £600 in costs and a surcharge fee.

David Storry, defending, described Winbourne as being “a troubled man”.

He added: “He knows what he did was immeasurably wrong.”