Former psychiatric patient’s death threats to Sunderland hospital staff

Entrance to Cherry Knowle Hospital, Ryhope
Entrance to Cherry Knowle Hospital, Ryhope
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A FORMER patient at a psychiatric hospital threatened to kill staff in a chilling phone call.

David Barnes called Sunderland’s Cherry Knowle Hospital from a phone box and said he would kill anyone who had mistreated him “with my bare hands”.

Police traced the call and found the 60-year-old – who has been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder – sitting near the Old Town Hall in Market Place, South Shields.

Barnes, of High Street East, Sunderland, pleaded guilty at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court to using a public communications network to send a threatening message.

John McGlone, prosecuting, said: “A telephone operator answered a call from the defendant at about 4.20pm on September 20.

“He said it was David and he was going to kill one of the nurses and anyone else who had hurt him in the past with his bare hands.

“The operator passed the phone call on to a superior who called police who traced the call to a phone box in King Street, South Shields.”

When police found Barnes he told them he was angry and frustrated at the treatment he was getting, but would never have carried out the threats. Mr McGlone added: “He said he just wanted staff to listen.”

Andrew Wigmore, defending, said: “This is a single event and there was only a momentary disturbance caused.

“The person, or people, he is trying to contact are staff at Cherry Knowle Hospital – who deal with people with mental health problems.

“It was more of a cry for help and he wasn’t going to carry out the threats.”

Mr Wigmore added: “He was a patient at the hospital in the past and was sectioned again after this incident.”

Magistrates adjourned Barnes’ case until Tuesday for the probation service to prepare a report about him. He was granted unconditional bail until then.