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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Court likely to send Carlisle man to psychiatric hospital

A man who was carrying a screwdriver and club because he feared being attacked faces time in a psychiatric hospital.

Antony Kirkwood told police he kept the metal club in his car in case someone “caved my head in”, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

He also said he would stab someone in the leg with the screwdriver if it came down to his life or theirs.

A jury was sworn in during the trial to decide on Kirkwood’s culpability after doctors deemed him unfit to plead on mental health grounds.

The court heard Kirkwood was spotted by two police officers in the James Street area of Carlisle in the early hours on February 12.

As the officers pulled over to speak to him, he ran off before throwing a backpack he was carrying over a fence.

Kirkwood again started to run when the officers drove up to him a second time but he was eventually caught on Crown Street.

The screwdriver was found on him during a search and he was handcuffed and arrested.

Kirkwood’s car, which was parked nearby, was searched soon after and the metal club which had a rope handle was found next to the handbrake.

During police interview, Kirkwood talked about a friend, who he had fallen out with, who stashed things away in the area where he was earlier caught.

He had gone to see if he could find anything and when police approached him he thought he was about to be assaulted as he had been receiving “threatening texts” and phone calls.

He also claimed he had been attacked with an axe the previous night and had been beaten up another time but police had failed to take any action, the court heard.

“I lived in fear that one blow to the head was going to finish me,” Kirkwood told officers.

He added that the reason he had the screwdriver and the club was to protect himself, but denied putting the club in his car.

Due to the nature of the trial, the jury did not hear any defence statement on Kirkwood’s behalf.

It took less than an hour for jurors to decide Kirkwood, of Haig Road, Carlisle, was guilty of two offences of having an offensive weapon in public.

Judge Barbara Forrester adjourned sentencing until January 9 but told Kirkwood, 40, the most likely outcome will be time in a psychiatric hospital.

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