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Friday, 21 November 2014

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Chef used knives to threaten neighbour, Carlisle court told

A hotel chef used two kitchen knives to threaten a neighbour who had complained about the noise coming from his house.

Stuart English, 19, “completely lost control” in the confrontation with Trevor Wilson, who lived near the house he shared with his girlfriend and their children.

The row over the noise the family were making came to a head when English met Mr Wilson in the street and ended up hitting him with a piece of metal in an “unedifying scrap”.

Afterwards English went home, fetched two knives from his kitchen and returned to the scene to continue the argument.

Although he did not actually use the knives he continued threatening Mr Wilson until his father arrived, restrained him and “bundled him away.”

Then, “realising the enormity of his behaviour”, he sat with his head in his hands asking: “What have I done?”

Details of the incident in The Firs, Alston, were given at Carlisle Crown Court, where English pleaded guilty to charges of affray and possessing the metal bar and the knives as offensive weapons.

In mitigation defence barrister Kim Whittlestone said he taken on so many responsibilities before the incident on July 13 that he had started drinking heavily.

“He has taken on a lot over the past 18 months and has not been able to cope with the pressure it has brought,” she said.

Ms Whittlestone passed the judge a sheaf of testimonials, all stressing that English was “a very good young man” who had clearly acted out of character.

She said English – “not a young man who regularly carries knives” – recognised that his continued presence could cause problems to the neighbours if he went on living in The Firs, so he had gone back to live with his parents in Leadgate, Alston.

English was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, ordered to do 175 hours unpaid community work and made to pay £500 to Mr Wilson, with £1,000 costs.

Passing sentence, Recorder Kevin Grice, told English he could very easily have seriously injured Mr Wilson.

“If someone who has totally lost control, as you had, takes a knife into a situation of potential confrontation, all it needs is a slip or a movement and someone could lose their life – and this court knows how easily that can happen.”

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