Man seen with meat cleaver on packed bus

ARMED PO­LICE RE­MOVE PAS­SEN­GERS - IN­CLUD­ING CHIL­DREN - AT RUSH HOUR

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By SOPHIE HALLE-RICHARDS [email protected] @so­phiehrMEN

A MAN caused a crowded bus to be evac­u­ated in the mid­dle of Manch­ester city cen­tre af­ter he was spot­ted with a meat cleaver tucked in his trousers.

Lawrence Peters left pas­sen­gers – in­clud­ing chil­dren – on board the rush hour ser­vice ter­ri­fied af­ter he was spot­ted with the eight-inch kitchen knife.

Armed po­lice ar­rived at Port­land Street and boarded the Stage­coach bus, which had trav­elled into the city cen­tre from Leven­shulme.

Peters was found asleep at the back of the bus – he had a meat cleaver, a four-inch steak knife and three snap bags of cannabis.

The 52-year-old, of Lich­field Av­enue, Red­dish, Stock­port, has now been sen­tenced to nine months in prison, sus­pended for two years, hav­ing pre­vi­ously ad­mit­ted two counts of possession of an bladed ar­ti­cle in a pub­lic place.

Manch­ester Crown Court heard that at around 3.20pm on Oc­to­ber 19, a mem­ber of the pub­lic spot­ted Peters on the top deck of the bus with a knife han­dle pro­trud­ing from the waist­band of his trousers.

Prose­cu­tor Rachel Faux said: “They saw him spill a can of liq­uid and he then walked to the front of the bus to pick up a news­pa­per to clean it up.

“As he walked past, the mem­ber of the pub­lic no­ticed the han­dle of a knife stick­ing out from his trousers and de­scribed it as a ma­chete han­dle.

“Con­cerned about what he might do, and chil­dren be­ing present, they alerted the driver, who im­me­di­ately evac­u­ated pas­sen­gers onto Port­land Street.”

Pas­sen­gers were evac­u­ated from the packed bus, leav­ing Peters ‘slumped’ at the back of the bus where of­fi­cers found him and ar­rested him.

Ms Faux said: “In in­ter­view he con­firmed be­ing in possession of the knives, but could not ex­plain why there were in his possession.

“He said he couldn’t re­mem­ber leav­ing his home ad­dress and blamed his be­hav­iour on med­i­ca­tion he had taken that morn­ing.”

The court was told Peters had a for­mal di­ag­no­sis of schizophre­nia and has pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions for of­fences of vi­o­lence and possession of a weapon – in­clud­ing a dag­ger in 2004.

Peters’ de­fence bar­ris­ter, Adrian Palmer told the court that his client could not re­call how or why he came to be in possession of the knives.

“Of course, the court will want to know more about this ex­tremely wor­ry­ing state of af­fairs which lead a man – clearly obliv­i­ous of his sur­round­ings – to have a meat cleaver on his per­son on a bus with mem­bers of the pub­lic and chil­dren,” Mr Palmer said.

“The de­fen­dant says he had been to the chemist and does not re­mem­ber or recog­nise the knives.

“He could not give a de­fin­i­tive ex­pla­na­tion.”

Sen­tenc­ing, Recorder Kate Black­well QC said she was con­cerned that a per­son with di­ag­nosed mental health is­sues was able to freely carry blades in pub­lic.

She said: “I have to say, it causes the court a great con­cern that some­one in your po­si­tion with a di­ag­no­sis of schizophre­nia has at some stage de­cided to go into the pub­lic arena with such weapons upon you.

“I am pre­pared to take a chance to­day – given your per­sonal cir­cum­stances and the fact you did not ac­tu­ally bran­dish this weapon, I am pre­pared to sus­pend the sen­tence.”

Peters was also made sub­ject to a 20-day re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion re­quire­ment and a six-month cur­few or­der.

The bus was evac­u­ated on Port­land Street in the city cen­tre

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