Sunderland man took knife after downing drink and drugs before being stopped by police in pub

A Sunderland dad sparked a 999 alert from his own mother when he took a kitchen knife from her home after downing rum and drugs, a court was told.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 10:37 am
The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Paul Burnett, 26, of Warwick Street, near the Stadium of Light, downed one-and-a-half litres of the spirit and consumed a drugs cocktail, causing a suspected episode of paranoia.

It led him to take the blade and set off to his sister’s home to request painkillers and cash on the morning of Saturday, January 4.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard police found him soon after drinking a pint in a pub, having placed the knife in the beer garden.

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Car parts agency worker Burnett led them to it when requested and was cooperative when arrested and quizzed.

Prosecutor Lee Poppett said police were contacted by Burnett’s mum because he had arrived at her home distressed and left with a knife, and that other family members had got involved.

Mr Poppett said Burnett then went to his sister’s home and asked for codeine tablets but she had none.

He added: “He asked for money and she gave him £20. She then realised that he has a kitchen knife with a serrated blade.

“He is located in the Howard Arms pub at the bar by police. He is asked to put his pint down and is compliant.

“They ask him where the knife is and he directs them to the garden. He is arrested and interviewed under caution and is entirely compliant.”

Mr Poppett said when police asked Burnett about his behaviour, he replied: “My head just went. I was scared, paranoia.”

Of the knife, he added: “When he was asked if he had used it, he said ‘no’. I make it clear that none other than family members had seen it and it had not been used. He has no previous convictions”

A Probation Service report read to the court said Burnett had consumed the booze and a “cocktail of drugs that led to paranoia”.

Gerry Armstrong, defending, said: “His mother rang the police because she could see that her son was so desperate for help.

“He’s seen the effect this can have on his life and his future. He’s demonstrated his ability to change and has seen the effects it can have, not just on his life but on his daughter.

“We also have here someone who has led an impeccable life. He has had, for a short period, a manic episode from drink and drugs, which is behind him. In short, he has started on the path to recovery.”

John Lee, chairman of the bench, told Burnett that people who took knives into public places ultimately risked using them to “stab or kill someone”.

He added: “An aggravating factor is that it was committed under alcohol or drugs or both. You did show remorse.”

Burnett, who pleaded guilty to having a bladed article in a public place, was made subject to a 12-month community order with a requirement of 20 rehabilitation days with the Probation Service.

He was fined £360 and must pay £90 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.