AN ACCOUNTANT who threatened to stab his wife to death after he lost his job escaped a jail sentence yesterday.

During his four-day trial at Guildford Crown Court Francis Fernandes, 47, claimed his wife Cynthia made up the story to frame him after he threatened to report her and other members of her family for alleged benefit fraud.

The father-of-two, of Pont Estyll Lane, Newport, blamed his medical secretary wife for him losing his job and accused her of having affairs with other men behind his back.

Police were called to the couple's rented three-bedroomed house in Surrey on April 28 last year after he brandished a kitchen knife and threatened to end his wife's life. Their son, Shannon, 18, disarmed him before Fernandes stormed out of the house.

He accepted he had a bread knife in his hand when he confronted his wife of 18 years but said he was instead threatening to kill himself, the court heard.

Prosecutor, Peter Stage, said the couple's relationship started to deteriorate nine years ago and things only got worse when Frenandes lost his job as a company accountant for a large firm. He told the court this was because he had discovered evidence of dishonesty.

In evidence for his defence Fernandes said his wife was trying to get him committed to a mental institution, after he warned her he intended to report her and her relatives for alleged "benefit fraud."

Since he had been out of work his wife had treated him with utter contempt, he said and rewarded him for doing most of the chores with nothing but scorn.

"She told me that I was like a barking dog. She said to me: 'You haven't got the guts to do anything. You are an impotent man.'" He said.

Fernandes was given a two year prison sentence suspended for two years after a jury found him guilty of threats to kill and affray. He had already admitted a charge of common assault. He was acquitted of two further counts of affray and threats to kill alleged to have occurred in March 2011.

He was also made the subject of a restraining order not to approach his wife.