A ‘HEATED argument’ about the Black Lives Matter movement spilled on to a Cumbrian street, with the two men involved arming themselves with knives.
One of the two people involved — 38-year-old Antonio Da Silva, who now lives in Penrith — suffered what looked a “defence wound” to his hand, the court heard.
Da Silva and the other man — 22-year-old William Metcalfe — were sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court after they admitted having a bladed article in a public place.
Trouble erupted in the Compston Street flat in Ambleside where Da Silva was living in the early hours of July 14 last year, Carlisle Crown Court heard.
David Traynor, prosecuting, said that a witness who visited Da Silva’s flat saw him drinking alcohol with Metcalfe, whose mother was also there.
“There was a heated discussion on the topic of Black Lives Matter between the three of them,” said the barrister. At 3am, neighbours heard loud arguing in the flat.
All three people present – the two defendants and Metcalfe’s mother – were involved in the row. Da Silva at one point could be heard asking the other two to leave and this prompted Metcalfe’s mother to gather her belongings.
Da Silva was seen standing at the scene holding two knives, saying he needed them because he was attacked. At times, said Mr Traynor, Da Silva was abusive.
Witnesses saw a ‘topless’ Metcalfe leaving the flat, carrying a knife. His mother also left, followed by Da Silva, also topless and bleeding, swaying around as he walked as if drunk.
He swore at his co-defendant and accused him of “robbing his coat.” At the time, said Mr Traynor, Da Silva was carrying a kitchen knife with an eight-inch blade.
Da Silva – pushed away by Metcalfe – fell to the ground, where he was seen crawling away as he told the other man: “They’re coming for you; enjoy your last freedom.”
When police arrived, Da Silva was emerging from his property and holding a six-inch long knife. Police told him to drop .
The officers noted that he had a cut to the index finger of his left hand, with Da Siva saying he was injured as he grabbed the knife from Metcalfe.
The younger man was also found nearby carrying a knife, which he immediately dropped when told to do so. He said he grabbed the knife to protect himself.
The court heard that Da Silva has seven offences on his record, as well as a caution from 1999 when he was a youth for possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.
Metcalfe has no previous convictions.
Mr Traynor said there was evidence in Da Silva’s flat that there had been disturbance and Da Silva did appear to have a “defensive wound.”
But there was little evidence of who was in the right and who in the wrong during events inside the flat, he said.
But neither man had a good reason to carry a knife outside the flat in a public place, which should be kept separate from events inside the flat.
Claire Brocklebank, for Da Silva, of Brunswick Road, Penrith, said he accepted that neither man had a good excuse for taking a knife into the street and he regretted his actions that morning.
“This offence was entirely out of character,” she said.
Since the offence, he had moved away from Ambleside and reporting of the case had led to him losing his job. “He hasn’t simply sat about,” said the barrister.
“He has made real changes to his life.” This included getting treatment for anxiety and depression.
Anthony Parkinson, for Metcalfe, of Morley Avenue, Blackburn, said he had been assessed as posing a “low risk of reoffending”. He too accepted that there was no excuse for having a knife in public.
As he passed sentence, Recorder Richard Archer told the defendants: “We will never know what went on in the flat where you all – together with [Metcalfe’s mother] – spent the early hours of July 14 last year.
“But when knife crime spills out on to the streets to public places there is a quite unacceptable level of risk to innocent members of the public.
“Who ever started it and what ever the motivation of the argument doesn’t matter, when knives are involved people get injured and people die.”
That was why courts had to take a tough stance against those who arm themselves with knives, said the Recorder.
The judge imposed eight months jail, suspended for 18 months, on each defendant. In addition, Da Silva and Metcalfe must do 120 hours unpaid, and 15-days rehabilitation, and Da Silva must serve a four-month curfew.
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