An open home event on Tawa St in Whanganui turned sour when a drunk man began abusing the real estate agent in charge of it.

Russell Laird Hammond had been picking lemons off a tree at the property when he noticed the victim and approached her in a clearly intoxicated state.

"I've seen something," Hammond said to her.

When she asked him what he was referring to, Hammond began calling her names and ignoring her requests for him to leave.

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"He approached the victim with his hands above his head," police prosecutor Drew Morrison said when Hammond appeared for sentencing in Whanganui District Court on Tuesday.

"The victim put her hand down and told the defendant not to come any closer as she walked backwards towards the front door."

Hammond then struck out at the victim with his hands, but she dodged him, entering the house and closing the door on him.

Hammond left the address and a short time later, was located by police who could not get a statement from him because he was so intoxicated.

Lawyer Anna Brosnahan said Hammond had entered an immediate guilty plea to a charge of common assault.

"You'll note from his history that he used to appear very regularly in this court. Mr Hammond has been an alcoholic for a very, very long time," Brosnahan said.

"The background to this is he wasn't looking at the home, he'd been picking lemons off the tree and he thought he was being funny."

Hammond's last conviction was in 2014. He was convicted for alcohol-related offending in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Judge Philip Crayton noted Hammond's poor history of offending.

"You have relapsed into drink and a local businesswoman was subject to your verbal and physical abuse," the Judge said.

"The reality is, she was just trying to do her job. Understandably, you caused great stress and fear for her."

Judge Crayton sentenced Hammond to 12 months' supervision and ordered him to pay $200 emotional harm reparation.

"You are someone who needs to remain engaged with your councillor," he said.

"If you don't and you're here again, I anticipate the court will very quickly go back to sending you to prison."