A MAN who ran amok with a knife in the centre of Kendal has been sent to prison for 18 months. Leigh Jonathan Dirkin, 22, was upset after a group of teenagers “ridiculed” and “bullied” him, Carlisle Crown Court heard. So he got drunk, picked up a knife from his parents’ kitchen and wandered through the town threatening drivers and passers-by with it, prosecutor Gerard Rogerson said. Dirkin, of Ann Street, Kendal, pleaded guilty to affray and to two charges of threatening people with the seven-inch bladed knife. MORE TOP STORIES:
Mr Rogerson said the incident, just after midnight on Sunday February 2, left people “scared and horrified”. At one point he “waved the knife around” at the drivers of vehicles stopped at traffic lights in Longpool, and lunged with it at Robert Murphy, whose car window was open. Pedestrian John Clark in Ann Street “felt threatened” when Dirkin waved the knife in his direction and another man was so worried he told a young woman to get into his car as “shelter” because he feared for her safety. Another woman was “scared”, but felt he would not actually do anything because she knew him and thought him incapable of it, Mr Rogerson said. Police – who were called by “various people” – found him running down the street towards them, and three tasers had to be fired at him before he could be subdued, the court heard. After his arrest he told police he had “got a bit drunk and for some silly reason he had decided to go home and get a knife.” In mitigation defence counsel Chris Evans said Dirkin had been “subject to a degree of ridicule by younger people in the Kendal area.” He added: “He is someone who can be an easy target. He dealt with it by drinking a considerable amount of alcohol.” Mr Evans said that now Dirkin realised what he had done he was “truly shocked”, especially since none of the people he threatened were those who had tormented him. “ He now realises that the way to deal with ridicule and bullying is not to go out a get drunk,” he said. Passing sentence, Judge Paul Batty QC said Dirkin’s behaviour at the time had been “incredibly dangerous”. “Someone could so easily have been injured or indeed killed,” he said.