Man jailed for carrying carving knife

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A stowmarket man who brandished a carving knife outside a nightclub has spent Christmas behind bars.

Harry Smith, 19, had been involved in a confrontation inside Jokers during the evening of January 14.

On Thursday, Ipswich Crown Court heard how Smith, of Lydgate Road, Stowmarket had repeatedly barged into Chris Mills on the dancefloor.

Prosecutor Richard Kelly said that after Mr Mills pushed him away, Smith had spat in his face before door staff removed him from the building.

Shortly before 4am and after the club had closed, Mr Mills had been socialising with his brother in a car park outside when he saw Smith, with a number of other people, approaching with something in his hand, said Mr Kelly.

Mr Mills thought the object might be a knife and armed himself with a baseball bat and approached the group with the hope they might back down. Mr Kelly said that when he realised that Smith was carrying a large carving knife he struck out with the bat and caused Smith to drop the weapon.

As Smith left in the direction of the town centre, a member of staff from the club picked up the knife using her coat to preserve any forensic evidence.

Mr Mills was treated at hospital for a cut to his cheek but it was not clear how the wound had been inflicted, the court heard.

Fingerprints found on the knife matched those of Smith and when police searched his home they found a set of knives matching the one he had taken to the car park.

Mr Kelly said Smith had a number of previous convictions for public order offences and assaulting police officers.

Smith pleaded guilty to an offence of having an article with a blade in a public place.

Defending, Declan Gallagher said that when Smith was ejected from Jokers his coat was left behind and it was in a bid to retrieve it that he had gone back, taking the knife for “reinforcement.”

While Smith admitted carrying the knife, it had been Mr Mills who had struck the first blow using the baseball bat.

Smith came from a dysfunctional family and had spent time, as was the case on this occasion, been on the streets of Stowmarket while intoxicated.

“He is not a mindless thug who armed himself with a knife” said Mr Gallagher.

Sentencing Smith to 16 months in a Young Offenders Institution, Judge John Devaux said that despite being aware that his previous offending had occurred after he had been drinking, Smith appeared to have learned nothing from this.