Widower spared jail for knife 'terror' in a Plymouth store
A WIDOWED father-of-two who held a shop assistant at knife point in a "terrifying" incident has been given a two-year suspended prison sentence.
Dean Wilkinson, of Balfour Terrace, Morice Town, appeared at Plymouth Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to possessing a bladed article and affray.
The court heard how the 43-year-old had entered Morice Town Stores, on Charlotte Street in Devonport, shortly after 7pm on November 25 last year.
CCTV footage played to the court showed Wilkinson entering the store, placing a half empty bottle of whisky on the counter before pulling two 10-inch kitchen knives out of his jacket pocket. The footage then showed Wilkinson, who was holding a knife in each hand, push the till off the counter and threaten the male member of staff behind the counter with both knives – one pointed towards his chest and the other to his neck.
Wilkinson then told the man to call the other members of staff in the shop with one female family member coming down from upstairs and two male family members emerging from the back of the shop, the court heard.
When two customers entered the shop Wilkinson told one of the men who had just emerged to serve them, all the time still holding the knives up to the shop assistant.
The knives were finally taken off Wilkinson by one of the male family members who had just emerged, the court heard.
Police later found Wilkinson, who lost his wife to cancer in 2011, at home and interviewed him the following day.
It was said in mitigation that Wilkinson's reason for holding the man at knife-point was in connection with another incident the police were investigating.
Nick Lewin, defending Wilkinson, said: "He is a desperately, desperately sad man. The report from the doctor says he has been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is one step short of hospitalisation. He has spent most of his life one step short of suicide. Underneath the damage he has caused is a thoroughly decent man.
"This is a case where there is a good reason for mercy, a good reason for decency and a good reason to help him on his way to recovery."
Judge Erik Salomonsen, sentencing Wilkinson, said: "The video is terrifying. The action you took was frightening in the extreme. You have a previous history of offending and a number of offences of violence going back to 1997."
Wilkinson was given a two-year suspended sentence and banned from entering Morice Town Stores.