A WHEELCHAIR user who was spotted holding a kitchen knife in a main street has narrowly avoided jail after a judge heard he had “struggled” since being disabled in an accident three years ago.
Jose Paulo Sousa, 47, of Malthouse Way, Penwortham, who is an amputee, was arrested after police found a blade in a bag and another stashed in his wheelchair.
It seems you have serious drug problems and of course problems from your disability and all those things I suspect got on top of you
Prosecuting at Preston Crown Court, Stephen Parker said at 9.30am on March 5 members of public reported a man on Church Street, Preston, had a large knife.
He said: “Police attended, saw the defendant fitted the description and when asked if he had a knife he said: ‘Yes, it’s on my lap.” Police opened his bag and removed a kitchen knife with a seven-inch blade.”
After his interview police decided to take him home but as an officer folded his wheelchair, he found a knife. Sousa said: “That’s not mine.”
He was convicted of two counts of possession of a knife after a trial in his absence.
The court heard he had previous offences of violence and public order on his record.
Defending Beverley Hackett said: “His pre-sentence report is well-documented in terms of his accident in 2013 and the impact that had on him since.”
Judge Andrew Woolman, imposing a 30-day rehabilitation requirement, said: “ The circumstances into which you came into possession of these knives are far from clear and maybe wasn’t clear to you considering the state you were in.
“It seems you have serious drug problems and of course problems from your disability and all those things I suspect got on top of you.
“Having knives in a public street is always serious but in view of your personal circumstances I’m not going to imprison you.”