Richard Whittaker, 23 — who chillingly threatened to torch his wife — tensed his body and squealed in high-pitched tones: “I’m not going, I’m not going.” A police officer had to rush to the aid of a G4S security guard and wrench free Whittaker’s grip on the wooden dock before helping to eventually bundle him downstairs.

The astonishing scene prompted a clearance of the public from the court as Whittaker’s wife wept uncontrollably at the sentence.

Sheriff Derek Hamilton — who branded Whittaker’s offending ‘completely unacceptable’ — heard earlier how the dad-of-two locked his flat door and removed the key after the female social workers had called round on a welfare matter.

The court was told how one of the women was so frightened that she used a sofa to barricade the living room door amid concern about what Whittaker might do next.

Prosecutor Pamela Brady said: “The accused began ranting and raving at the social workers and called one a ‘scatty cow’.

“He locked the front door of the flat and removed the key before going into a bedroom and slamming the door.

“One social worker contacted the police. The other was so concerned that she used a sofa to barricade the living room door to prevent the accused from re-entering.” The court heard how Whittaker’s wife eventually coaxed him into unlocking the door after she conceded to a demand he had made to accompany her to another appointment.

Fiscal depute Mrs Brady said: “The accused opened the door, and by this time police had arrived.

“His wife was extremely upset.” Whittaker — who committed the offence on 10 April — later threatened to set his wife on fire.

The chilling comment was made after they had argued over a potential new home, which Whittaker had branded a ‘dump’.

Mrs Brady said: “Mrs Whittaker was on the phone to her grandmother when the accused entered and threatened to set her alight.

“This was overheard by the gran who said that she was going to contact the police, which she did.

“The accused’s partner was upset and told the police that he had effectively threatened her life.” Whittaker also breached a strict court order to stay away from his wife following that incident on 24 June.

His defence lawyer said that an apology had been made to the social workers, and that he threatened his wife after finding that father’s day cards and a prized book of his had been ‘torn up’.

The solicitor said: “It was a threat that was never going to come to fruition.” Sheriff Hamilton declared the the incident involving the social workers ‘extremely serious’.

The lawman told Whittaker: “Social workers go into difficult situations and put themselves in danger on occasion.

“They have got to be protected when they go about their role.

“What you did was completely unacceptable and a message has to be sent out here.” Sheriff Hamilton, inset, jailed Whittaker, of Lynedoch Street in Greenock, to a total of 11 months behind bars.