Armed Scott James dialled 999 and confessed he was on his way to kill his dad.
James told police he was walking to his father’s home and intended to stab him, during a six-minute 999 call.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 33-year-old told the operator he was “determined” to carry out the attack but also said he wanted to be stopped.
He was intercepted by police near Penshaw Monument and no harm came to his dad, who had no idea about the threats his son had issued.
Prosecutor John Crawford told the court: “On October 24 last year a 999 call was made by Mr James himself to the police.
“In the course of that call he told the call handler he was on his way to his father’s house and he intended to kill him.
“He said that he had a knife with him, described as a six-inch steak knife.
“He said he would stab him in the leg.”
The court heard James, who said he had been drinking, ended the call after around six minutes but the operator was so concerned that he was called straight back.
Mr Crawford added: “He said he was determined to carry out the assault but also did reference the fact he wanted to be stopped.”
The court heard James gave the call taker directions to where he was and police stopped him on his way to where his father lives.
Mr Crawford added: “He was compliant with the officers and threw the knife on the floor.
“He stated he was glad he had been stopped, he would have killed him.”
The court heard police attended James’ dad’s home and he was “entirely unaware” of the threat that had been made to his life.
He said in a victim statement he was “terrified of the risk” his life had been under and “shouldn’t have to live in fear.”
In a later statement he said his son was likely to have been “acting out of anger” and “not thinking straight” and so he no longer felt frightened.
James, of Falkland Road, Sunderland, admitted having a bladed article and making a malicious communication.
Recorder Toby Hedworth QC sentenced him to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months with rehabilitation requirements and a lifelong restraining order to keep him away from his dad.
The judge said: “This was what is often referred to as a cry for help because, in my judgement, someone who genuinely intends to cause harm with a weapon doesn’t set out and make a journey on foot of that sort and ring the emergency services and announce you are going to do so.”
The judge added: “If you want to do this, you arrive unannounced.”
Tony Cornberg, defending, handed in references about James’ ordinarily good character and status as a “family man” and added: “I may well be just a cry for help, he was literally saying ‘I want to be stopped’.”
Mr Cornberg said James’ behaviour due to a combination of “rumination and alcohol”.