Sunderland man downed vodka before flashing knife in black eye rant

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A MAN has been jailed after taking an eight-inch kitchen knife into the shop where his girlfriend worked.

Neil Bater had been in a relationship with Wendy Armstrong for four-and-a-half months when he arrived at her workplace and committed the offence, on July 11 this year.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how the 41-year-old, of Penwith Road, Fulwell, Sunderland, had entered the shop numerous times after drinking four vodkas.

During his last visit he made reference to the fact somebody had given him a black eye and said “this was what I planned to sort out” before lifting up his top and showing her the knife.

Kevin Wardlaw, prosecuting said: “The witness said she was frightened by Neil’s behaviour.

“He certainly intended to intimidate the witness at the very least.

“When interviewed he gave his account and said he forgot the knife was there.”

Bater was in breach of a 24-month suspended sentence imposed in February 2013, after smashing a stolen car into an 84-year-old man’s home.

He was handed a 17-month suspended sentence last year after admitting aggravated vehicle taking, two common assaults, criminal damage, driving while disqualified, affray, having no insurance and driving with access alcohol.

Thomas Laffey, defending, said: “He understands the position he has placed himself in.

“He has never given her any reason to fear him.

“He has changed for the better and she says she intends to support him.

“She is not looking for any type of restraining order.

“He has now obtained full-time employment and as a result of that employment they have been able to take up a tenancy. If he lost his liberty today that would be severe for both of them, as he would lose his employment, which would in turn lead to her losing the tenancy.”

Bater pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article at a previous hearing.

Judge Penny Moreland told Bater: “When you came to my court in February last year I suspended the sentence and told you if you committed another offence you would expect a 17-month sentence.

“On July 11 this year you went into the shop where your partner Wendy Armstrong was working armed with a knife.

“You had the knife on you and showed it to her.

“What you did caused fear and anxiety to all those who saw the knife.

“The shop was full of school children when you entered on the last occasion.

“You went on to commit an offence.”

Judge Moreland sentenced Bater to 21 months in prison.