Paranoid ex-drug user armed himself with knives and branch cutter after PlayStation session

Newcastle Combined Court. Copyright Google Images.
Newcastle Combined Court. Copyright Google Images.
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A man has been spared jail after being found in the middle of the street with two knives and a branch cutter taped to his back because he believed “people were coming to get him”.

Brian Moss went to his sister’s home in the Wordworth area of Easington Lane, Sunderland, distressed and crying at 2.30am on Sunday July 27.

The 27-year-old, who has had mental health issues in the past, told her he wanted to speak to the crisis psychiatric team.

His sister left him inside her house playing on a PlayStation she had set up to calm him down while she rang the crisis team who advised her to contact the police for help.

But when she returned she found Moss had gone into the kitchen and armed himself with two kitchen knifes and taped a pair of branch cutters to his back.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said: “Police arrived in the street, he had a kitchen knife in each hand with branch cutters to the back.

“Four officers attended in total and were trying to calm him down. They told him to put the knives down. His response was ‘I don’t want the police’.

“He held the knives up to his chest shouting ‘come on then.’

“The defendant threw one of the knives down on the pavement.

“He drew the knife across his throat three times causing red marks to his own throat.

“He then threw the knife down.

“He got the branch cutters, pulled them over his head and began making a chopping motion with these.”

Mr Pallister told Newcastle Crown Court how a PC told Moss to put the branch cutters down to which he responded by saying only if he put his baton down.

The PC handed the baton to another officer and took the branch cutters from Moss.

When interviewed by police about the incident, Moss said he was feeling paranoid, like people were coming to get him so he picked up two knives and branch cutters.

He told police he didn’t want to hurt anyone and he thought they were coming to him with the batons and seemed to be surrounding him.

Mr Pallister added: “He accepts he shouldn’t have had the items in a public place.”

Moss, of Sherburn Grove, Houghton, admitted affray, two offences of having a bladed article and having an offensive weapon.

Neil Hodgson, defending, said: “The defendant did have a break down in September last year following long term use of amphetamine.

“Until September last year the defendant had worked for ten years.

“His wife supports him and wants him back. She has no worries in terms of him or their children.

“He’s been in custody for the first time for three weeks. He hasn’t enjoyed it.”

The judge, recorder Keith Miller, told Moss: “I don’t consider that it’s necessary for me to impose an immediate custodial sentence.

“Although one view of these matters is that they are serious and do justify imprisonment, however I have to look at the total picture.

“I view what happened on July 26 as being an isolated incident.”

Recorder Miller sentenced Moss to six months in prison suspended for 18 months.

He also ordered Moss to attend a rehabilitation activity requirement for 40 days.

Recorder Miller added: “I hope that now this court nor any other court will see you in the future.”