Norwich woman used knife to frighten off abusive gang

A woman picked up a kitchen knife, left her property and waved it above her head to frighten off a gang who had subjected her to homophobic abuse, a court has heard.

Tara Ann Browne, 20, of Bull Close, off Bull Close Road, Norwich, appeared at Norwich Magistrates' Court yesterday where she pleaded guilty to possessing a knife blade/sharp pointed article in a public place.

Ben Brighouse, prosecuting, said at about 10pm on May 4 the defendant had a group of men outside her property 'chanting abuse, some of it homophobic'.

He said: 'It appears she has responded by getting a knife, going outside and saying 'Come on then, come on then,' to this group.

'The police, who attended, described that she had raised the knife above her head and started waving it around towards the group. She was told to put it down and she does.'

Simon Nicholls, mitigating, said Browne pleaded guilty to the offence which she committed after 'massive' and 'substantial provocation over an extended period of time'.

The court heard Browne, a single woman, had been in the property on her own with three young children at the time of the offence.

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Mr Nicholls said: 'She's a single person with young children being subjected to abuse from young thugs.'

He invited Browne to address the court herself and she said the group were 'swearing' and 'shouting' and that previously she has had people kicking her door as they have gone past.

She said she has been depressed and had been drinking. She said: 'It was my way of dealing with it as a 20-year-old girl trying to protect herself against all these men. That was my reason.'

Before she was sentenced probation were asked to carry out a report and informed magistrates that she suffers from depression, anxiety and paranoia and has anger problems for which she is taking medication. Magistrates were also told she had drunk four bottles of wine prior to the offence and would never have done so had she not been under the influence of alcohol.

Browne was given four month custodial sentence suspended for 12 months. She was also made the subject of a 12 month supervision order and ordered to undertake an alcohol treatment order.

No costs were imposed but an order was made for the forfeiture and destruction of the knife.