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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Man made threats with knife then sat down and cried, Carlisle court told

A man has avoided an immediate prison sentence for a “strange incident” that began with him brandishing a knife and ended as he sobbed on the sofa.

Patrick Devenney, 44, was given a suspended sentence at Carlisle Crown Court after previously admitting one charge of affray.

He had been staying with Jason Smith in Fell View Avenue, Woodhouse, Whitehaven, when the incident happened on July 27, last year.

Prosecutor Brendan Burke said: “On that evening, Mr Smith returned to his address and had three friends with him.

“The defendant made an appearance at about 6.30pm and struck everyone as being very drunk.”

The court heard Devenney had made a “perceived inappropriate remark” about Mr Smith’s girlfriend earlier in the day, and Mr Smith wanted to discuss it with him.

“When he did,” Mr Burke continued, “the defendant began shouting and screaming. He ran into the kitchen and got a knife.

“He returned, still shouting and making abusive remarks. He was swinging the knife towards Mr Smith’s face, initially two or three steps away from him.”

Dawn Crawford, one of Mr Smith’s friends, tried to grab Devenney from behind and he swung the knife towards her, before turning back to Mr Smith and almost stabbing him in the stomach.

Mr Burke added: “He then moved in closer to Mr Smith, at which point he ‘honestly believed’ he was going to be killed.”

The incident was brought under control when Mr Smith punched Devenney in the neck.

In a bizarre twist, Devenney then took the knife back to the kitchen before returning to the living room where he sat on the sofa and started to cry.

James Kemp, defending, admitted it was truly a “strange incident”.

“My client had met a lady via the internet,” Mr Kemp explained, “and had no ties at the time to Kent [where he was living] and was free to come to the Whitehaven area.

“That relationship broke down and he was staying at the premises of a friend of the lady he had been seeing.”

He appealed to Judge Peter Hughes QC to show some leniency towards Devenney, because no-one had been injured, and his client had immediately returned to Gravesend, in Kent. He is now in a new stable relationship.

Sentencing him yesterday, Judge Hughes said while the case crossed the custody threshold, he felt a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for one year, was still suitable.

Judge Hughes also ordered Devenney to complete a one-year community order, including the reducing reoffending specified activity programme, plus 80 hours unpaid work.

Devenney had also admitted breaching his bail – but because he handed himself in to police and spent two subsequent days in custody, no separate penalty was imposed.

 

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