Knife-carrying pair who came to court with prison bags are allowed home
A knife-carrying couple who were expecting to spend Christmas in prison were told by a judge to pick up their jail bags and to go home.
Judge said to Helen Asbridge, 42, and Colin Chapman, 40, that they had both come “very close” to receiving a jail sentence.
The East Durham pair arrived late at Teesside Crown Court laden down with bags expecting to be locked up after they pleaded guilty to carrying bladed articles when they were searched by police on August 20 last year.
Asbridge, who had a steak knife and two Stanley knife blades in her handbag, had a previous conviction from 2015 for possessing a knife.
Chapman, who also had Stanley knife blades in his pocket, was in breach of a conditional discharge for harassment, said prosecutor Chris Wood.
The crown court also heard Asbridge had 32 convictions for 70 offences, Chapman seven convictions for 25 offences and that they were both drug users.
Chapman initially told police that his Stanley knife blades were for cutting a carpet.
But he later admitted that the carpet did not exist while Asbridge made no comment when quizzed by officers, said Dr Wood.
Shaun Dryden, mitigating on behalf of Asbridge, said that a pre-sentence report commented that she had made a lot of progress in recent months.
Nick Morrison, representing Chapman, said Chapman’s pre-sentence report also confirmed that he was tackling the difficulties he had had struggled against and that they could both be helped in the community.
Handing them a range of community penalties and rehabilitation measures, Judge Chris Smith told the couple: ”You don’t make it easy for yourselves
“But I have in mind the progress you have made with the difficulties in your lives including the long-standing problem with prohibited drugs.”
The judge added:”You can take your bags away but you need to understand that you have both come very close indeed to going to prison today.”
The couple, of Third Street, Blackhall Colliery, were both given an 18 months community order, drug rehabilitation programmes for nine months, 30 days of rehabilitation activities and 100 hours of unpaid work after they pleaded guilty to possessing bladed articles and Chapman also admitted breach of a conditional discharge.
Judge Smith also ordered the destruction of the knives.