Fine for depressed man with knife

DEPRESSED Leslie Steward locked himself in a bathroom to try and harm himself with a knife, a court heard.The 59-year-old Woodbridge man was arrested after he went out into the street with the knife in his coat.

DEPRESSED Leslie Steward locked himself in a bathroom to try and harm himself with a knife, a court heard.

The 59-year-old Woodbridge man was arrested after he went out into the street with the knife in his coat.

Steward appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court where he admitted having a bladed article in a public place.

Police responded to an emergency call at Steward's home in Station Road because he had a drunken row with his girlfriend.

Steward locked himself in the bathroom, where he cut himself, then went out to Cumberland Street where he was arrested.

"Although he was in possession of a knife he intended to harm himself rather than anyone else," said Ian Pells, prosecuting.

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The court heard Steward was in breach of a year's conditional discharge for common assault on October 23.

David Hutson, mitigating, said Steward had never been in trouble before.

He had been married over 40 years and for the past five years his wife suffered from Alzheimer's disease – a form of dementia.

As a result Steward, who is on incapacity benefit, suffered from severe depression and has been in St Clement's Hospital 12 times in the last five years.

Three years ago he formed a relationship with a woman he met at the hospital who suffers from schizophrenia.

"The relationship has its ups and downs," said Mr Hutson. "They are both patients at St Clement's Hospital. It is a difficult relationship which from time to time sparks up."

"It is a sad set of circumstances," said Mr Hutson, adding Steward continues to visit his wife in hospital.

On February 25 Steward had an argument and locked himself in the bathroom before leaving the house with the knife.

"When he was in the street at no point did he take the knife out of his coat," said Mr Hutson.

"He didn't threaten anyone or the officers with it or say he was going to use it." The knife was taken away on his arrest.

In sentencing Judith Palmer, chairwoman of the bench sitting at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court, told him: "There are no aggravating features. You had no intention to use the knife outside the premises and no attempt to harm other people."

He was fined £50 and ordered to pay £35 towards prosecution costs. The knife was forfeited.

No separate penalty was given for the breach of conditional discharge.

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