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Friday, 21 November 2014

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Carlisle teenager told to stay in at night or be locked up

A teenager who said he was incapable of staying in at nights has been told he must do that for six months – or face 18 months in custody.

Levi Whitham, 18, was before a judge at Carlisle Crown Court after police found him in Carlisle city centre with a knife. He was involved in an altercation in the early hours of the morning last August, and dropped the lock knife in Botchergate as police officers approached him, said prosecutor Alan Lovett.

Whitham later admitted possessing a bladed article though he had never threatened to stab anybody during the incident.

He was initially given a suspended sentence for the offence but that was revoked yesterday after the court heard that he had shown “a poor attitude” to the probation staff working with him.

His probation officer told the court that Whitham, though avoiding the city centre and some old associates, had been lucky to have got as far through his community sentence as he had. Only last week he was angry and abusive with staff at the Probation Service office.

The probation officer in court said: “He simply said he would breach his curfew – he can’t stay in. But he needs to recognise that he needs to take responsibility for his actions; and that we’re trying to work with him, not against him.”

The teenager’s barrister, Elizabeth Muir, said there were signs of change in her client, who lives at Fulford Walk, Etterby.

He had got a job, working at a fish factory in Annan.

Resentencing the teenager, Judge Peter Davies told him: “You are an immature, selfish and feckless young person, who thinks it’s hard to go out into the middle of the street with a gruesome, vicious, violent weapon, which could cause serious injury.”

The judge went on to criticise Whitham for having complained that probation staff were not doing enough for him, telling him: “It’s time you did something for yourself, instead of relying on everybody else to do it for you.”

He imposed a two-year supervision order, 18 months in a young offenders institution suspended for two years. He also imposed 150 hours community work, and a six-month 7pm to 7am curfew, warning Whitham he will go to custody for 18 months if he fails to comply. The judge added: “I am told you didn’t want to do a curfew, but this is supposed to be a punishment; you are supposed to do things you don’t want to do. If you fail, you will go to custody.”

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