Knife woman jailed

Harrogate Magistrates Court
Harrogate Magistrates Court

A WOMAN who pulled a knife on a member of the public for “staring at her” has been jailed.

Claire Bell, 30, of Throxenby Lane, pulled the concealed blade from her sleeve and threatened to stab the female passer-by in Columbus Ravine on New Year’s Day.

Recorder Andrew Campbell QC jailed Bell for 15 months, saying that she subjected an innocent bystander to an “extremely frightening” incident. Bell had pleaded guilty to affray before the sentencing hearing at York Crown Court, sitting in Harrogate. The offence put her in breach of a community order which she was already serving.

Prosecutor Alan Mitcheson said: “It is a strange case. Prior to leaving home she had been drinking to excess and her husband thought she had gone for a cigarette.

“Her husband realised she wasn’t close by, and he was so concerned he contacted the police.

“The police were also concerned as this lady was wondering along Columbus Ravine and took exception to the fact that a lady had been staring at her.”

A knife, with a four inch blade, was then produced from Bell’s sleeve and she said “I’ll stab you”, or something similar.

The court heard the victim’s husband, who was also present, “talked some sense” into Bell and she immediately apologised for her actions.

The police quickly caught up with Bell and took her into custody.

Mr Mitcheson added: “In the interview, she said she saw a female and said ‘happy new year’, but the woman was looking at her in a funny way.

“She told police that it was the second time that she had carried a knife on her.”

Simon Reevell, who represented Bell, pointed out that most of the offences on his client’s record had occurred in the late 1990s, when she had been a teenager.

A decade in which Bell stayed out of trouble followed, before she sentenced at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court for being drunk and disorderly in October 2010.

In July last year, Bell was handed a community order for possession of an offensive weapon.

Mr Reevell added: “The defendant is realistic, there is but one outcome. But she is positive about that.

“The help she has received in custody has been better than anything she has received on the outside in terms of her thinking skills and mental health problems.”

Passing sentence, Recorder Campbell said: “Possession of an offensive weapon and threatening a member of the public is a very serious matter.”

Bell was sentenced to a year in jail for affray and a further three months for breaching the community order.