Taxi ride knife terror—(Hartlepool Mail)

SSRI Ed note: Alcoholic takes meds including antidepressants, threatens to kill girlfriend with a knife.
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Hartlepool Mail

Published Date:  26 March 2009   Last Updated: 26 March 2009 9:55 AM

By Felicity Collinson

AN ALCOHOLIC pulled out an eight-inch knife and calmly laid it across a taxi dashboard before telling the driver he was going to kill his girlfriend with it.

The horrified cabbie rang police as soon as Christopher Hall got out of her cab and they raced to the scene.

The 49-year-old knifeman – who was already on a suspended sentence for another offence – has now been warned he faces jail after he admitted possessing an offensive weapon and threatening behaviour.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard that Hall climbed into the taxi outside his home, and during the journey started telling the woman driver that he wanted to kill his girlfriend because he was sick of her.

The court heard how he then pulled out the blade from the waistband of his jeans and put it on the dashboard.

The terrified cabbie got to the destination – the home of Hall’s friend in Topcliffe Street, Hartlepool – and he got out of the car.

He started walking towards the house carrying the knife, and the taxi driver watched as a woman answered the door and allowed Hall inside.

When police arrived, the weapon was in the kitchen and he was talking to the woman.

Prosecutor Zeenat Begum told the court yesterday: “He called for a taxi to take him to his friend’s house. He took an 8in kitchen knife from his address and concealed it in the waistband of his trousers.

“He started making comments like ‘I’m sick of her’ and ‘I’ll kill her’ during the journey produced the knife from his jeans and placed it on the dashboard. The female taxi driver reached the destination and the defendant left the taxi carrying the knife and approached the address.

The taxi driver was extremely frightened and phoned the police.”

The court was told that when interviewed by police, Hall told them he was an alcoholic who regularly drank six litres of cider and that he had taken medication for asthma and depression.

Hall, of Rugby Street, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon, using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress, on March 13 and for committing an offence while subject to an 18-month suspended sentence from December last year.

Mitigating, Neil Taylor said: “This is a man who was clearly distressed, clearly has problems with alcohol and clearly has difficulties.”

Chairman of the bench John Taylor said: “We are indicating custody as a starting point at this stage.”

Hall was released on bail until his next appearance on April 15.