A woman shouted in protest from the public gallery “****ing backward him” after a Thornaby man was jailed by a judge for an attempted knife point robbery.
Alex Ibbetson was “high on drugs” when he brandished a knife and subjected a woman to a terrifying ordeal as she moved into her Stockton home on October 8 this year.
The 26-year-old was caged at Teesside Crown Court on Wednesday, which prompted protests from the public gallery, with one woman shouting: “It’s finished, it shouldn’t have started.”
She could be heard to continue shouting, objecting to the sentence, as she left the room.
Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, described how a woman was moving into a new flat with her friend at a property on Hartington Road, Stockton at around 3.10pm in the afternoon when the defendant appeared, held out a knife and demanded she give him drugs.
The court heard how the woman told Ibbetson that “she doesn’t have any” before he was ultimately distracted and left around two minutes later.
“She was terrified when he held out the knife,” Ms Atkinson told the court, explaining how the victim had previously suffered domestic violence, and was left “shaken up” by this ordeal.
Ms Atkinson said that the knife was around four to five inches in length.
The defendant, who appeared via video link from HMP Durham, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of a blade.
Nigel Soppitt, defending, claimed that the complainant had said the blade was about the size of a biro pen.
He argued that his client deserved credit for his guilty plea and said the offence was “akin to an unsophisticated robbery.”
“There’s certainly no planning involved in it,” he added.
He said the offence started outside and continued into the flat: “The door was open, it’s not somebody bursting in.”
Mr Soppitt added that Ibbetson’s mother said he has “difficulties with mental health.”
“She believes that there are underlying problems,” he said.
Ibbetson, of Briar Road, Thornaby, was also said to be sorry for the offence.
Judge Peter Armstrong sentenced him to three years and nine months in jail and made a restraining order preventing him from contacting the victim.
The court usher had to repeatedly ask a pair in the court’s gallery to be quiet after they made comments throughout the case and at one point a mobile phone rang.