Ex-Prisoner threatened to kell baby with knife, Bristol Crown Court hears — (Bristol Post)

SSRI Ed note: Ex-prisoner on anti-depressants assaults wife, threatens child. This is out-of-character behaviour.

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Bristol Post

By This is Bristol

Posted March 20, 2011

A PRISONER who struggled to adapt to society again when he was released from jail threatened to kill a young child with a knife.

Terry Hartigan, 35, had been jailed in March 2008 for 27 months for conspiracy to supply drugs.

He appeared at Bristol Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty earlier this month to making threats to kill a young child, who can not be named for legal reasons.

Julian Howells said that on December 24 he had been in Bishopsworth when he became emotionally upset.

“He made threats that he would harm himself,” Mr. Howells said.

“At the time he was making the threats he picked up a silver kitchen knife.”

He said Hartigan made a stabbing action with the knife a number of times and made a threat to kill a child while holding the knife.

“This continued for several minutes with him angry one minute and calm the next.  The police were called and he put the knife down and released the child.”

He was arrested at another address on Christmas day.

In interview he said things got out of hand.

“He said he was not proud of what he had done and that he was upset and needed help.”

Catherine Spedding, mitigating, said her client was on anti-depressants and was receiving counselling.

She said that he was hopeful of fill-time employment and matters in his life were moving forwards.

“He realises this was a serious matter and very frightening for those involved,” Miss Spedding said.

“It is also an incident that Mr Hartigan bitterly regrets.”

The court also heard Hartigan had pleaded guilty to a separate offence of common assault against his wife.

Mr Howells said:  “On November 14 last year his wife had been discussing their domestic problems with a friend. When the friend left the defendant came downstairs and pushed her against the wall and put his hand around her neck.

“He accused her of seeing someone else which she had not been doing.  The incident was very frightening for her.”

Sentencing Hartigan, of Backwell Walk, Bishopsworth, Recorder Geoffrey Mercer QC told him: “If anything approaching this ever happens again you will be in serious trouble.”

“I do accept however that what happened was out of character and accept that at the time you were suffering from depression.”

Hartigan was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for 12 months.

He was also made subject to a three-month curfew.

For the charge of common assault he was given a restraining order not to go within 100 metres of his wife’s address, not contact her unless through a named family member.