Prison for man who carried knife as a ‘visual deterrent’—(Herald Express)

To view original article click here.

Herald Express

By This is SouthDevon

Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 09:29

A SOUTH Devon man who brandished a knife when he was ‘attacked’ in Totnes has been jailed.

Stephen Aitkenhead, 52, pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon and was sent to prison for four months at Exeter Crown Court yesterday.

Passing sentence, Recorder Martin Meeke QC told Aitkenhead: “You were carrying the knife because you felt vulnerable and worried about what might happen but that demonstrates the evils of knife carrying and the courts have to deal with it on a daily basis.”

Prosecutor Ann Hampshire said Aitkenhead had been drinking with the transient community in Totnes when he claimed he was attacked from behind.

He pulled out the lock knife and waved it at three men saying: “Which one of you wants it?” []

When police arrived they had to get out their CS gas canisters to facilitate the arrest of the defendant, the court was told.

Aitkenhead was to tell police that he looked after the homeless people in the town, buying them food and drink. He said he had taken the knife with him when he went out because he felt very vulnerable. He did not have it with him to threaten people but to act as a visual deterrent, the court was told.

Mitigating, William Parkill said Aitkenhead had mental health issues and was on prescribed medication for depression.

He was a diabetic but despite that had drunk five pints of beer and shared half a bottle of vodka with the people he was with.

The court was told that he was a loner who attached himself to the transient community because they did not know about his problems.

Mr Parkhill claimed his client was attacked by three people from behind and had pulled out the knife and started brandishing it to keep them away from him. He felt he was staving off a further attack on him.

Aitkenhead of Western Road, Totnes, was told by the Recorder that only immediate custody was appropriate for someone who carried and waved around an open bladed knife.