Sunderland man threatened to chop heads off ‘like Jihadi John’

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A MAN threatened he would go out and chop people’s heads off “like that Jihadi John” in a chilling phone call to a mental health nurse.

David Barnes, who has a long history of mental health problems, was later found by police holding a knife to his own throat, Sunderland magistrates heard.

The 63-year-old had become frustrated when he was unable to contact his regular community psychiatric nurse on February 28, the court was told.

“In summary, he rings his support worker,” prosecutor Paul Anderson said.

“She knows him very well, having spoken to him on numerous occasions, and he says what he says: ‘I’ve got a knife and I’m going to go out and chop people’s heads off just like that Jihadi John’.

“Police attend and find him with a knife against his own throat, which officers remove.” Barnes, of Blaydon Avenue, Town End Farm, admitted making threats to kill.

Gavin Sword, defending, said Barnes had become frustrated about his lack of suitable accommodation when he made the call.

“When there is a crisis in David Barnes’s life you get incidents of this nature, where it is almost as if he is trying to provoke some sort of reaction from the authorities, whether it be the police, the courts, or psychiatric nurses,” Mr Sword said.

“Two-and-a-half months before this incident he is accommodated with his mother, brother and sister, in fairly cramped conditions, he is sleeping on a two-seater sofa.

“He is waiting for Mental Health Matters to provide accommodation. The delay to this was the final straw.

“He tries to speak to his psychiatric nurse and sport worker, neither of whom are available.

“He then rings the crisis team and says possibly the most outrageous thing you can think of, which is something he has seen in the press or on the television or wherever.”

Mr Sword said the nurse was not distressed by the incident because she did not believe he would carry out the threats.

He added: “These were not genuine threats, they were the ramblings of someone who needs help.”

Barnes was sentenced to a 12-month community order with supervision and a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was also told to pay a £50 fine, £85 costs and a £60 surcharge, which will be deducted from his pension credit.