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Thursday, 28 August 2014

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Cumbrian man threatened police with 10-inch knife

A man who threatened two police officers with a 10-inch kitchen knife has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that one of the officers thought he was going to be stabbed when a drunken Richard John Souter confronted him outside his home in William Street, Penrith, with a kitchen knife.

Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson told the court the police had gone looking for Souter after “a delusional male” dialled 999 “calling for help and saying he was in a bad place” from a phone box in Sandgate, Penrith, in the small hours of November 6 last year.

They guessed it was him, so they went to the block of flats in where he lives in William Street to see if he was all right. After they called for him to come out, Mr Rogerson said, Souter emerged brandishing the knife.

He rushed towards the officers and adopted a fighting stance.

“The officer feared for his safety, if not his life,” Mr Rogerson said.

The 41-year-old – who had 70 previous convictions, mostly for offences committed while he was drunk – dropped the knife only when one of the police officers threatened to use an incapacitating spray.

He was then wrestled to the ground.

After his arrest Souter told the police he suffered from depression but had stopped taking the medication he had been prescribed to control it. He said this made him “all right one minute but an idiot the next”, the court heard.

Souter – who has since thanked the police for stopping him harming himself – pleaded guilty to unlawfully carrying a bladed article in a public place and was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Defence barrister Alison Whalley said Souter needed help to control his drinking.

She said he had managed to give up both cannabis and heroin last year after being addicted to both for many years, but he had so far failed to do the same thing with alcohol.

She said that when he had gone for probation officers to assess whether he was suitable for alcohol rehabilitation he had turned up too drunk to be spoken to. But since then, she said, he had proved suitable for such treatment.

Souter was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to undergo treatment for his abuse of alcohol.

He was also made to pay a £100 victim surcharge. The knife is to be destroyed.

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