Jail for drunk who sparked knife drama

Durham Crown Court.

Durham Crown Court.

First published in News

A GROUNDSMAN has been jailed after brandishing two kitchen knives in what a police officer called to the disturbance described as the most dangerous situation he had ever encountered.

Matthew Hampton, 33, of Rockingham Drive, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, had earlier admitted affray and possessing an offensive weapon.

He appeared before Durham Crown Court to be sentenced.

The court heard Hampton was heavily under the influence of alcohol during the incident in Bishop Auckland on April 5.

His mother called the police to her home at about 10.45pm that night, after seeing Hampton's drunken behaviour descend into what the judge called a 'complete loss of self-control'.

Hampton picked up two 10ins carving knives and waved them around in a threatening and intimidating manner, the court was told.

His behaviour was so erratic that police had to use a Taser to restrain him, the court was told.

Hampton has previous convictions for being drunk and disorderly and resisting arrest.

In 2011 he was jailed for 16 months for an attempted robbery.

The court heard how police called to deal with the disturbance had reason to fear for their safety.

A statement from one office read: "This stands out, without doubt, as the most dangerous position I have ever found myself in.

"He [Hampton] could have severely injured myself of a colleague without a second thought."

John Gillette, mitigating, said: "He is fully aware of the impact of what he did would have on those officers.

"He was disgusted by footage [of the incident] and described his own actions as those of a madman.

"He regrets the impact the incident would have had on those officers, who were just doing their job."

Mr Gillette said Hampton was optimistic of getting a job when he is released from prison, having previously worked as a groundsman.

He added: "This incident came out of nothing and he regrets it very much."

Jailing Hampton for 18 months for the affray and nine months the possession charge, Recorder Jonathan Carroll told him: "It is clear that there is the sober you and the drunk you.

"The sober you is capable of having a positive and constructive life. The drunk you is, to use your own words, a madman."

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