TWO police officers were left traumatised after confronting a suicidal Carlisle man who had armed himself with a knife.

One of the officers involved said he feared he might be killed as he and his colleague attempted to help 28-year-old Mark Presley, who had overdosed and was trying to slit his wrists.

District Judge Gerald Chalk heard that the encounter was made more traumatic because Presley, of Greta Avenue, Morton, had a deep-seated fear of the police stemming from experiences in early childhood.

The judge drew back from imposing an immediate jail sentence after a Probation Service worker in court warned that his poor mental health had rendered him vulnerable, and there was a high risk of him harming himself if he went to jail.

Presley admitted two counts of assaulting an emergency worker - police officers.

Peter Kelly, prosecuting, said a relative of the defendant called police because she was concerned for Presley. Officers arrived to find him sitting on the sofa with the knife in his hands. In a statement, one officer accused the defendant of "lunging" at them with the knife.

But Presley's defence lawyer John Halewood-Dodd said body cam evidence disproved this.

Presley followed the officers out of the house, still armed with the knife. Despite efforts to subdue him - with both a pepper spray and a taser device - he was able to get back into his house with the knife. He eventually surrendered the weapon and came out after talking to a police negotiator.

He later told police: "I didn't threaten police with the knife. I was at home, had taken an overdose and was feeling desperate. I didn't want the police to intervene. I simply told them to [go away] but they burst into my house."

One of the police officers later said: "I was really scared: I was going to an address to help a person who wanted to end their life but felt he could have finished mine.

"To be immediately chased out on to the street by a male who wanted to stab and seriously hurt me has made me cautious about wanting to help anybody in the same situation."

The second officer said: "It was very frightening and could have ended very differently."

Mr Halewood-Dodd said the defendant was remorseful, and apologised to the officers.

"He was clearly very ill at the time," said the lawyer.

Before this incident, he had sought help from the mental health services but felt there was none available.

District Judge Chalk imposed a 130 day jail term suspended for a year, with an order that he must complete 20 days of rehabilitation. The judge added that the police officers were clearly and understandably truamatised by what happened that night.

Presley must pay each officer £100 compensation, £100 prosecution costs, and a £115 victim surcharge.