Sunderland drinker who armed himself with knife to look for rival is spared jail

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A drinker who took a knife into a bar to confront a rival after a row has been spared jail.

Stephen Wright claimed a fellow customer at the Thorney Close Variety Club in Sunderland had been “abusive” towards him during a night out on July 26.

In response, the 28-year-old went to his sister’s house nearby and picked a knife up from her sink, which he took back to the club.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the rival had already left the premises when Wright got back there in an “agitated state”.

Prosecutor Mark Guiliani told the court: “He said he had returned to the club to confront the man he had argued with.

“When he got there, the man had gone. Someone called the police and he was arrested.

“He said the reason he wanted to get the knife was to frighten him with the knife.”

Wright, of Palgrove Road, Sunderland, admitted possession of a knife.

The court heard Wright has substantial family responsibilities and was able to present “glowing” testimonials to the court about his good character.

Mr Recorder James Brown sentenced Wright to nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with rehabilitation requirements and a three-month night-time curfew.

The judge told him: “Understandably, the law takes a very serious issue with people arming themselves with a knife. The consequences can be fatal.

“For that reason, in cases such as this, it is often the outcome that people must go to prison, and go to prison immediately.

“But, in this case, the court is able to take an exceptional course.”