Knife threat to teenage group

Twenty kids gath­ered out­side house

Stirling Observer - - PRIMARY ONES - Court reporter

A Dry­men man who con­fronted a large group of teenagers with a knife has avoided jail.

Si­mon Ward (39) as­saulted a boy, then aged 15, and seized him by the hair, grabbed his cloth­ing and pushed him dur­ing an alarm­ing in­ci­dent in the vil­lage.

He also shouted, swore, chal­lenged oth­ers to fight and be­haved in an ag­gres­sive man­ner while hold­ing the blade. The in­ci­dents hap­pened out­side his home on Stirling Road on July 12.

Stirling Sher­iff Court heard on Wed­nes­day that a crowd of 15 to 20 young teenagers were gath­ered near Ward’s prop­erty.

Fis­cal de­pute Laura Knox said: “The wit­ness and var­i­ous friends had con­gre­gated out­side the home ad­dress of the ac­cused.

“The wit­ness was sit­ting on the wall chat­ting when the ac­cused walked over to him, took hold of his hair, pulled him up and pushed him away, telling him ‘get off my bal­cony’.

“He said that he was only sit­ting on the wall and at this point the ac­cused be­gan swear­ing.”

This was said to have alarmed the group and Ward then chal­lenged the boy and his friends to fight but they just walked away.

Ms Knox added that around 30 min­utes later the ac­cused made an­other ap­pear­ance and ap­proached the group again, this time armed with a knife.

She said: “He be­gan walk­ing to­wards the group of chil­dren and one of them shouted ‘he’s got a knife, run’.”

At this point the group dis­persed in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions and the boy who was orig­i­nally as­saulted phoned his mum to tell her what had hap­pened. He asked if she could pick him up.

The group com­mu­ni­cated with one an­other us­ing their mo­bile phones and agreed to meet at a nearby bus stop.

When they got there they saw Ward was there and still had the knife.

He shouted ‘hello boys and girls’ at them so they ran into a lo­cal pub and waited for the vic­tim’s mother to ar­rive.

Po­lice were con­tacted and when Ward was later traced and ar­rested he replied: “I’m sur­prised and shocked.”

De­fence solic­i­tor Stephen Maguire said: “Shocked and sur­prised – add ter­ri­fied, mor­ti­fied and em­bar­rassed to that. Thank­fully no­body was hurt.

“He doesn’t re­call what hap­pened or what pro­voked him but he ap­pre­ci­ates how se­ri­ous this is.

“It seems en­tirely out of char­ac­ter. It was a mid­week night dur­ing the school sum­mer hol­i­days. He can’t ex­plain why he did it.

“He is mor­ti­fied by the way he has be­haved.

“In this case that un­paid work would be an ap­pro­pri­ate way of deal­ing with it.”

Sher­iff Wil­liam Gilchrist said: “This is clearly very se­ri­ous, given it in­volved the pos­ses­sion of a knife.

“The charge came about as a re­sult of your in­tox­i­ca­tion. It could have been far more se­ri­ous.

“How­ever, I take into ac­count the fact that you are a 39-year-old man with no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions. This in­ci­dent is clearly iso­lated.”

Ward was placed un­der su­per­vi­sion for 12 months and or­dered to do 110 hours of un­paid work in the next six months. The sen­tence was im­posed as a di­rect al­ter­na­tive to cus­tody.

He can’t ex­plain why he did it. He is mor­ti­fied by the way he be­haved.

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