To view original article click here
The Lancashire Telegraph
By Wendy Barlow
A WOMAN who was stunned with a taser gun after a three-hour New Year’s Day stand-off has been warned she could be jailed.
Sarah Balmbra, 22, had armed herself with two knives and threatened to stab officers after a cocktail of drink and prescribed medication.
Negotiators were called in to calm her and she ended up being shot with a taser gun, Burnley Magistrates heard.
Balmbra, said to be fragile after a series of traumatic events in her life, admitted affray and possessing an offensive weapon.
She was bailed until January 24, for a pre-sentence report, on condition she lives at Rydal Close, Padiham, and observes an 8pm to 8am curfew.
Bill Maude, prosecuting, told the court at 9.20pm the defendant started shouting at a 17-year-old youth, blamed him for putting her dad in hospital and repeatedly spat in his face.
She started kicking a fence and gate, he went into a house and Balmbra continued to bang on doors and windows and made threats.
Mr Maude said after a short while the defendant left and walked up a ginnel, shouting abuse at people. Some time later, she came back down, carrying a knife and shouting.
At 9.30pm, police received a call saying a woman was in the street throwing bricks at a house on Bowness Road. Officers went to the address and found Balmbra with a knife in each hand.
Three young girls were in front of her and were hysterical, screaming and crying and one of the officers took hold of the children to protect them. The defendant was very agitated and threatening to stab someone.
The prosecutor said more police patrols were called and Balmbra continued shouting. When more officers arrived she put a knife against her own throat and said if anyone went close she would stab herself.
Balmbra moved nearer to the officers, continuing to threaten them. Police with shields were called in and negotiators spent a long time trying to reason with her. At 12.15am, the defendant threw the knives to the ground, started to walk towards the police and then looked as if she was going to pick the weapons up again. Officers used a taser gun on her and Balmbra was arrested, cautioned and apologised. She had two previous convictions.
Dylan Bradshaw, defending, said Balmbra had been at a particularly low ebb at New Year. She had been attacked in May 2005 in Cumbria and the lady who went to hospital with her was later murdered. She had suffered immense psychological damage and had also spilt up with her boyfriend before Christmas.
The defendant had been put on anti-depressants for a second time by her doctor and on New Year’s Day she had drunk vodka and red wine on top of her medication. She had very little recollection of what happened until she was shot with the gun.
Mr Bradshaw said: “Although punishment is something you need to take into account, this is a woman who needs help.”
He added: “She is greatly troubled and crying out for some sort of assistance and guidance to help overcome her quite significant psychological problems.”