Village knifeman spared jail after local support

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A drunk knifeman who brought terror to a Cliviger pub after arming himself with two blades was saved from jail by support from villagers.

Matthew Wrathall (27), who had previously been barred from the The Queen Hotel, became angry and went to his home 50 metres away and got the weapons after being persuaded to leave.

The best course of action is not immediate imprisonment.

Judge Andrew Woolman

He returned, barged back in and pointed one at landlord’s son, rugby player Grant Eddleston, who tackled him.

Mr Eddleston’s father then hit the defendant repeatedly with a bar stool to stop the trouble, Burnley Crown Court heard.

The court was told how Wrathall, who has learning difficulties and is described as vulnerable, would be bullied and struggle to cope in custody and a judge let him keep his freedom, because, he said, the case was exceptional.

Judge Andrew Woolman said he had read “very moderate and sensible” letters from the people of Cliviger, who told how Wrathall had developed epilepsy on top of his learning difficulties and had found it difficult coping with life in general.

The judge said he had been persuaded “that the best course of action is not immediate imprisonment.”

The defendant, from Burnley Road, Cliviger, had admitted affray, two counts of possessing an offensive weapon and one of common assault on September 26th and had been committed for sentence by Burnley magistrates.

He was given 12 months in jail suspended for two years, with a 35-day rehabilitation activity requirement and a three month curfew, between 10pm and 6am. He is banned from The Queen Hotel indefinitely.