A MENTALLY ill man, armed with a samurai sword, was on the way to avenge his uncle’s death when he was stopped by police in South Tyneside, a court heard.
Dominic Lewis Howe has been banned from South Tyneside for six months after being found with the 18-inch weapon while under the influence of drink and drugs.
The court heard a resident had raised the alarm after spotting the 20-year-old staggering along Sheridan Road, South Shields, at about 8am on Monday, with the handle of the sword sticking out of his trousers.
Howe was arrested and, after he’d sobered up, told police he had been on his way to find the man who had supplied his uncle with the drugs he used to kill himself with an overdose.
Yesterday, Howe, of Percy Road, Whitley Bay, appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
Jeanette Smith, prosecuting, said: “He told police he had been drinking. He had gone to watch Newcastle play and had been drinking.
“He had also taken cocaine and ended up in a friend’s house in Whiteleas.
“He continued drinking and began to think about his uncle, who died of a drugs overdose. He wanted to find the man who sold his uncle the drugs, and he went out with the intention of trying to kill that person.
“All that was on his mind was revenge.” The court was told that Howe has been diagnosed with a bipolar disorder and is hoping to receive medication in order to treat the illness.
Geoffrey Forrester, defending, said: “Looking at the reality of the situation, the defendant was extremely intoxicated and was staggering around with the sword down his trousers.
“In all probability he presented more of a threat to himself than to anyone else.
“There was no suggestion he was waving this sword around.
“This was something that was going to end with him being arrested by police before anything was going to happen. He wasn’t in any state to do anything.”
Magistrates warned Howe, who pleaded guilty to being in possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, that they were considering sending him to jail.
However, the court heard from the probation service that sending him to prison would be detrimental to his mental health condition.
Chairman of the Bench, Robert McDonald, said: “The bench has spent considerable time discussing how to deal with you for what is a very serious offence.
“Carrying that weapon in itself is dangerous. However, you did not produce it or threaten anyone, which is something we have taken into account.
“We were very close to sending you to prison.”
Howe was jailed for 12 weeks, suspended for 18 months, with 18 months supervision and banned from South Tyneside for six months.