Scarborough man jailed for 12 months for carrying a knife near town's police station

John Senior
John Senior

A stunned police officer couldn’t believe his eyes when a man walked up to him in the street and said he was carrying a four-inch steak knife – and was ready to 'stab somebody if necessary'.


John Senior, 51, from Scarborough, told the unsuspecting officer he was packing a sharp kitchen knife for his own protection because he’d 'heard on the grapevine that somebody was after him', York Crown Court heard.

The bizarre late-night scenes unfolded in Barwick Street, near Scarborough Police Station, where Senior told the officer he wanted to hand himself in.

“(The officer) was on uniform patrol in Barwick Street (and) was going back to the police station (when he was) approached by the defendant,” said prosecutor Martin Robertshaw.

“The defendant said, ‘I want to hand myself in. I’ve been shoplifting and I have an offensive weapon. I’ve got a knife’.”

The officer searched Senior and duly found the steak knife inside his jacket pocket.

“The blade was 4.5in long (and) had a serrated and sharp point,” added Mr Robertshaw.

Senior, a drug addict and prolific offender, was arrested and taken into custody. He told officers he had drunk several cans of lager but didn’t appear drunk.

“He said he’d been carrying that knife for a few months,” said Mr Robertshaw. “He said he carried it for protection and that he would use it to stab somebody if necessary.

“He said he had heard on the grapevine that somebody was after him. He was frank with police that the knife was from his kitchen.”

Senior, of Lonsdale Road, was charged with possessing a blade article in public and readily admitted the offence, which occurred at about 10.25pm on May 15. It was in breach of a conditional discharge handed down by magistrates in March for theft from a dwelling and failing to surrender.

Senior appeared for sentence via video link at the Crown Court on Thursday after being remanded in custody.

The court heard he had a long criminal record which included 32 previous convictions for 76 offences. Many were for theft, but he also had four previous convictions for carrying a blade and two for possessing offensive weapons, including a gas canister.

The dwelling theft for which he received the conditional discharge occurred in February when he went down into the basement of the flats where he was living and stole tools belonging to his landlord. The items, including a hedge trimmer and electric drills, were never recovered.

Senior claimed he sold them for £50 to buy food and electricity, but it’s suspected he used the money for drugs.

Defence barrister Lorraine Harris said Senior was 'very frank' with police about the steak knife and in fact wanted to go back to jail because it was the only way he could get off heroin.

“He feels that in prison he is able to have control of his heroin addiction,” she added. “He has given me specific instructions not to mitigate the length of his sentence.”

Judge Simon Hickey said it was 'unusual' to say the least that Senior approached the police officer 'in the very street where the police station is', carrying a 'serrated, sharp-pointed steak knife'.

“What worries me is that you said you were carrying that weapon for (your own) protection and you said you would use it to stab somebody,” added Mr Hickey.

Senior was jailed for 12 months.