Ex-soldier jailed for knife offence in Plymouth pub
A FORMER soldier who drunkenly lunged at a barmaid while holding a knife has been jailed.
Brian Johnson, aged 61, threatened the woman, but she managed to push him aside and hit him with a bar stool, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
Johnson, who had 25 years of distinguished service in the Army before turning to drink, was jailed for six months.
Recorder Paul Derbyshire said the knife was used in dangerous circumstances, in a city pub after he had been drinking.
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He said: "You will be aware as everyone is that knife crime and carrying a knife is viewed very seriously by the courts and it has escalated in recent years. The potential for the knife to be used was all too clear.
"The only appropriate sentence is one of immediate imprisonment."
Johnson, of Elgin Crescent, Crownhill, admitted possession of the lock knife in the Walrus pub in Athenaeum Street on June 28.
Alistiar Verheijen, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Johnson was in the pub at about 7.30pm when he was served by off-duty barmaid Gemma Herriot.
He added they chatted for a while but he became angry and abusive.
Mr Verheijen said the pub manager intervened, pointed Johnson towards a taxi outside and things seemed to calm down.
He added: "He produced a knife from somewhere. Miss Herriot saw the knife, as did others. The common view was that he lunged towards her with the knife. She was extremely scared and thought she was going to be stabbed. She managed to push him to one side while others intervened. The complainant struck him with a bar stool to stop him doing anything else. He went to the floor and was looked after by members of the public."
Rupert Taylor, for Johnson, said the father-of-two had 25 years in the Army, rising to the rank of staff sergeant.
The court heard he had been assaulted and took to carrying a knife to protect himself.
Mr Taylor said once he left the Army he "did not know what to do with himself and turned to drink".
He added he had done voluntary work until the charity coordinator had retired.
Mr Taylor said: "He does not remember the incident in detail. He was hit on the head with a stool. He accepted he produced the knife and acted in a way of which he is ashamed."