A man who attacked a house with an axe ran away when he realised it was the wrong house.

On May 14, Daniel Tamati Black entered a residential Whanganui property in which the sole female occupant was asleep. He opened the driver's door of a car before thumping in its roof. He then moved to the rear of the property where he uplifted a 600mm axe from a shed before returning to the front of the property.

Black attempted to kick in the door before taking the axe to the house.

The woman inside the house was woken and called out, and Black, realising it was the wrong house, immediately left with the axe.

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Black pleaded guilty to burglary in relation to the incident when he appeared in Whanganui District Court on Tuesday.

Judge David Cameron said there was extensive damage to the windows and joinery. "It is an understatement to say [the occupant] found the incident a most terrifying one and it's had a negative emotional impact on her," he said. "[Black] mistakenly thought the residence was occupied by a male with whom he is said to have had an altercation with earlier during the same night ... that behaviour is not to be tolerated."

Black was sentenced to six months' imprisonment.