Jobcentre staff threatened by man armed with knife and knuckleduster

Phillips lost his temper with two female workers at the Jobcentre in The Galleries, Washington. Pic: Google Maps.
Phillips lost his temper with two female workers at the Jobcentre in The Galleries, Washington. Pic: Google Maps.

A man armed with a knife and a knuckleduster threatened staff at a Jobcentre.

Thomas Phillips lost his temper with two female workers at the Jobcentre at Pennine House, Washington.

"Because of his demeanour he was taken to a side room," said Lee Poppett, prosecuting.

"The room has a transparent glass side, and is used for clients who staff fear may become violent.

"The staff tried to reason with Phillips, but he continued to be abusive, threatening, and aggressive.

"He said he was going to 'smack the staff up' because they were 'setting him up'.

"The incident went on for about five minutes before police were called.

"When arrested, Phillips was found to be carrying the blade of a Stanley knife, and a knuckleduster.

"He told police the blade was in his wallet from decorating, and he carried the knuckleduster because he had enemies."

Phillips, 32, of Waterloo Walk, Washington, admitted threatening behaviour, possession of an offensive weapon, and possession of a bladed article, all on July 24.

He admitted a separate offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on August 7.

"The victim in that case was his sister," said Mr Poppett.

"During an argument at their mother's house, he grabbed his sister by the hair, and using the hair as leverage, knocked her head against a wall.

"The sister was then dragged to the floor. She managed to free herself briefly, and lock herself in the bathroom of the property from where she called the police.

"The assault, left her with a bald patch."

Charlton Carr, defending, said the combination of offences made it likely the sentencing powers of the magistrates would be insufficient.

The bench declined jurisdiction, and sent the case to Newcastle Crown Court to be sentenced on September 13.

Phillips was remanded in custody.