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Jealousy led to sword frenzy attack

PUBLISHED: 16:14 08 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:51 03 March 2010

JEALOUS rage caused a Suffolk man to go berserk with a samurai sword, a court heard today.

Dennis Irwin, 42, found his estranged wife, her new partner and his daughter at his former family home in Mayflower Avenue, Saxmundham, when the incident began.

JEALOUS rage caused a Suffolk man to go berserk with a samurai sword, a court heard today.

Dennis Irwin, 42, found his estranged wife, her new partner and his daughter at his former family home in Mayflower Avenue, Saxmundham, when the incident began.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Irwin, who still had keys to the house, took a four inch bladed knife from the kitchen and followed the man up the stairs where he had gone to get changed out of his dressing gown.

Irwin lunged across the bed at him and made a gesture of slitting his throat.

The man hit Irwin in the face before Norma Irwin came into the room and told her husband to drop his knife and get out. Irwin threw the knife down but made a shooting gesture with his fingers towards him.

Mrs Irwin called the police and they went to Irwin's Millfield Close address in Saxmundham.

Simon Spence, prosecuting, said Irwin smashed a window with a samurai sword then went outside to confront the police. He said Irwin had taken a cocktail of tablets and alcohol in a bid to commit suicide when the police arrived.

In this state, Irwin attacked two police cars with the sword and released a handbrake so one of the cars rolled into the other. This caused more than £5,000 of damage.

Mr Spence said: "A firearms unit attended with a baton gun. Mr Irwin advanced with the sword in an aggressive manner and the baton ram was fired. It is in effect a plastic bullet. It hit him in the stomach, the police used CS gas as well to detain him."

Irwin was taken to the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston for treatment and then spent some weeks at St Clements Hospital in Ipswich while his mental health was assessed.

John Morgans, for Irwin, said his client had stopped taking his medication for his mental condition when the incident occurred, last December 18.

"To come in and see his wife and her new partner in dressing gowns was too much for him," said Mr Morgans. He said Irwin had pleaded guilty to causing an affray, possessing an offensive weapon and two charges of causing criminal damage to the police cars. "He is hugely remorseful and regretful," said Mr Morgans.

Judge Peter Thompson said Irwin had acted in a "threatening and outrageous manner" and had caused distress to his wife and daughter and threatened the man with a knife.

"That in itself is a serious matter," he said. "A huge number of police and a police helicopter were used. If this had happened before baton guns and CS gas, the police may have had to use real weapons to stop you," Judge Thompson added.

Irwin, whose son has lived with him and supported him throughout these proceedings, was sentenced to 12 months rehabilitation and told if he breached the order, he would probably face jail.


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