HERO COP STOPS CITY KNIFEMAN

DALE ALSTON, PIC­TURED, WAS CAUGHT AFTER SLASH­ING A LARGE KITCHEN KNIFE IN FRONT OF HOR­RI­FIED SHOP­PERS OUT­SIDE M&S

South Wales Echo - - FRONT PAGE - LIZ DAY Re­porter liz.day@waleson­line.co.uk

SHOP­PERS in Cardiff city cen­tre were left shocked and scared when a man started shout­ing, swear­ing and slash­ing the air with a large kitchen knife.

Dale Alston, 23, was ar­rested after be­ing chased along Queen Street by a plain clothes po­lice of­fi­cer dur­ing the in­ci­dent which hap­pened in broad day­light on a busy shop­ping street.

Speak­ing at Cardiff Crown Court, pros­e­cu­tor Ju­lian Green­wood de­scribed the events as “very alarm­ing”.

The court heard the in­ci­dent oc­curred in an al­ley­way be­hind Marks & Spencer at lunchtime on Tues­day, Septem­ber 12.

Pros­e­cu­tors said PC An­drew Lewis was on Charles Street when he saw the de­fen­dant ap­proach another man shout­ing: “I’m go­ing to f***ing stab you.”

Mr Green­wood told the court Alston was “swing­ing” a large, black­han­dled kitchen knife at the man and “slash­ing” the air. The po­lice of­fi­cer then heard him shout: “You’re go­ing to f***ing have it.”

Pros­e­cu­tors said the de­fen­dant ran through the back doors of Marks & Spencer, past the church, and dropped the knife as he was chased by the po­lice of­fi­cer.

The court heard PC Lewis, who has been a po­lice of­fi­cer for 14 years, had to use spray and a ba­ton to bring the de­fen­dant un­der con­trol.

In a state­ment read out in court, he said passers-by were “scared”, adding: “There was a gen­eral feel­ing of shock.”

The ex­pe­ri­enced po­lice of­fi­cer de­scribed the in­ci­dent as “shock­ing” and said: “His behaviour was reck­less, ter­ri­fy­ing and dan­ger­ous.”

Speak­ing after the hear­ing, he said: “I think it is just lucky that se­ri­ous in­jury was not caused.”

Alston ad­mit­ted the of­fence in his po­lice in­ter­view and told of­fi­cers he had been “hav­ing prob­lems” with the man.

He stated they agreed to “end it there” by hav­ing a fight in the al­ley­way and ac­cepted he “flipped” and “lost it”.

The de­fen­dant told po­lice he had been threat­ened and felt it was nec­es­sary to carry a knife.

Pros­e­cu­tors said he had pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions for vi­o­lence and public or­der of­fences.

The court heard he threat­ened staff with a hack­saw as a ju­ve­nile when he was in care.

Mr Green­wood said: “There is a pat­tern emerg­ing of us­ing of­fen­sive weapons.”

Alston, 23, who does not have a per­ma­nent ad­dress, ad­mit­ted pos­sess­ing a knife in a public place.

Jonathan Lewis, de­fend­ing, said his client was put in care when he was two and es­ti­mated he had been in 90 care place­ments across South Wales.

He said Alston ac­cepted he was “a hand­ful” when he was younger and had no for­mal qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

The court heard he made fre­quent ap­pear­ances be­fore the youth court and had lit­tle school­ing.

Mr Lewis said his client felt hope­less and iso­lated, adding: “He does not feel safe.”

The court heard he was re­leased from prison in De­cem­ber last year and turned away from all hos­tels in the city due to his behaviour to­wards other res­i­dents.

Mr Lewis said he ended up liv­ing in a tent be­hind Cardiff Cas­tle and de­cided to arm him­self with a knife be­cause he felt vul­ner­a­ble.

He stressed it was a “chance en­counter” with the other man, not a planned meet­ing.

The de­fence bar­ris­ter added: “He ac­knowl­edges he be­haved atro­ciously on this oc­ca­sion.”

Recorder Richard Wil­liams told the de­fen­dant: “You were wav­ing that knife in the air in the cen­tre of Cardiff in the mid­dle of the day. That must have been hor­rific to those who saw.”

Alston was jailed for two years and an or­der was made for the knife to be de­stroyed.

Dale Alston has been jailed for two years

Alston slashed the air with this knife dur­ing the in­ci­dent on Queen Street, Cardiff, ear­lier this month

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