Man seen with meat cleaver on packed bus
ARMED POLICE REMOVE PASSENGERS - INCLUDING CHILDREN - AT RUSH HOUR
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