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Man who confronted Appleby youth with knife is spared jail
8:37am Wednesday 12th September 2012 in News
A MAN who used a knife to confront a group of youths who had been tormenting his father has been spared a prison sentence.
Carlisle Crown Court heard that up to about 20 young people had gathered on the evening of Friday February 13 in the Chapel Street car park, Appleby, near the flat where 34-year-old Paul Lawson's father lives.
Knowing that his father had been receiving abuse from them, Lawson – who was staying with him while trying to give up drugs - went out to warn them off, prosecutor Alan Lovett said.
After being accidentally knocked to the ground by the door of one of the group’s cars, Lawson returned indoors to have his tea.
But while he was inside one of the youths lobbed a brick through his father’s window, causing him to go outside again – this time with the knife he had been using to eat his meal, Mr Lovett said.
He had more words with the gang, and used the knife to reinforce his argument until a man he knew came up and told him how inadvisable it was to be armed in such a situation.
Lawson put the knife down, and later threw it away, but was arrested for a public order offence.
After his arrest, Mr Lovett said, Lawson told the police he had been reacting to the problems his father had been having from the youths gathering on the car park.
Lawson, a father-of-five from Spalding Avenue, Clifton, York, pleaded guilty to putting people in fear or provocation of violence and having an article with a blade in a public place.
The court heard he had 81 previous convictions, though only two for offences of violence.
In mitigation defence barrister Clare Thomas said that although the trouble had been sparked by the abuse Lawson’s father had been receiving from the gang, he did not want to use that as an excuse for what he did.
“He knows that whatever had gone on, and whatever difficulties his father had had, he should not have gone out in the way he did,” she said.
The judge, Recorder Andrew Nuttall, told Lawson that the “intolerable behaviour” the youths had directed at his father saved him from the prison sentence that would normally be imposed.
“There is no doubt that there are particular circumstances in this case which allow me to take a more lenient course,” he said.
Instead Lawson was given 18 months probation supervision and ordered to attend a series of 19 'Thinking Skills' lessons.