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Norwich man with knife escapes jail

PUBLISHED: 06:53 12 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:24 01 July 2010

Mary Hamilton

An ex-alcohol counsellor avoided an immediate prison sentence for drunkenly banging on a door with a kitchen knife in his pocket, a court heard.

An ex-alcohol counsellor avoided an immediate prison sentence for drunkenly banging on a door with a kitchen knife in his pocket, a court heard.

Police were called to Unthank Road, Norwich in the early hours of January 19 to discover Michael Larkin, 41, drunk and banging on the side door of a house, Norwich Crown Court was told.

Malcolm Robbins, prosecuting, said Larkin asked them to help find his jacket and shoes, and when police gave his jacket back to him they discovered a kitchen knife in the top pocket.

“When he was interviewed the following day Larkin said he could remember nothing after 11pm,” said Mr Robbins. “He does have a previous history including similar offences.”

Mitigating, Michael Clare said Larkin had been splitting a coaxial cable at his home in College Road, Norwich so that a friend could share his TV aerial connection.

“For that, he needed a knife and a screwdriver, and he simply did not take it out of his pocket before going out,” he said.

“He did not take the knife out of his pocket or wave it around or threaten anyone with it.”

Mr Clare said that Larkin had an alcohol problem but that he had been sober for 11 years before going through a difficult divorce.

“He did so well in tackling his problems that he became an alcohol counsellor himself and worked to help others coping with alcohol addiction,” he said.

Judge Simon Barham said: “The concern of the public and of the courts recently has been very great in relation to knife crime, and many people who are found in possession of knives in public places go to prison immediately.

“You made no threat and you did not even produce the knife - it remained in your pocket. That is the only reason you are not being sent straight to prison.”

Larkin pleaded guilty to carrying a knife in public. He was sentenced to 17 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months.

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