Vulnerable man found with three knives close to primary school after helicopter search

The man was found on a footpath in Clayton Brook
The man was found on a footpath in Clayton Brook -Credit:Google

A vulnerable man was found carrying three kitchen knives near a primary school after he walked out of his supported living accommodation in Chorley.

The man, in his 30s, became angry and frustrated when he received a scam phone call trying to get money from him on January 29, 2024. Preston Crown Court heard he was a resident at Brook House in Chorley, a supported residence for people with mental health and learning difficulties, after struggling to live alone.

He had been exploited financially and 'cuckooed' in the home he lived in previously, the court heard. Shortly after 9pm, staff at the unit called the police, reporting he had left the facility and was making threats to harm himself and the police.


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Officers spoke to him on the phone but a large search was launched to trace him, as it was reported he was carrying a knife. They found him on a footpath behind Clayton Brook primary school, carrying a can of lager and a plastic bag.

An officer drew his taser but did not point it towards the man. He was initially volatile but then co-operated with the officer. A search of the bag revealed he was carrying three large knives which he had taken from the kitchen at Brook House.

The defendant pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of a bladed article in a public place. The court heard he has a previous conviction for carrying a baseball bat in 2011 but was sentenced under the Mental Health Act for that offence.

Tom Farr, defending, said the move to Brook House was 'a backwards step' for the, who felt staff were 'earwigging' and monitoring his movements. He felt he did not have the same freedom he had once had and felt his new home was 'oppressive'.

He did not have the coping skills to manage when he received scam phone calls, due to his cognitive impairments. He became increasingly angry at receiving the call which led him to make threats on his own life.

Sentencing, William Beardsmore said the court was required to impose a mandatory prison sentence for a second offence of carrying weapons, unless there were 'exceptional circumstances.'

He said he had seen medical evidence which showed the man had an acquired brain injury and extremely low cognitive function. He had been starved of oxygen at birth and undergone brain surgery as a child. He also had diagnoses of autism and learning difficulties.

"Your vulnerabilities have led to you being exploited in the community and falling victim to a number of financial scams", Recorder Beardsmore said.

"Your ability to deal with people who contact you on the phone and try to scam you is limited and you have difficulty dealing with that situation. No doubt you have found yourself on some kind of list by people who operate these scams.

"When distressed you will try to remove yourself from the situation or person that is causing you stress or distress and that is precisely what you did on this occasion, because of the limitations you have. you have real difficulty controlling your emotions."

The court heard the man has since moved to his own accommodation where he receives support. He has referred himself for alcohol treatment but does not meet the threshold. He works 10 hours a week and has support from his girlfriend and her family.

Recorder Beardsmore said he was satisfied there were exceptional circumstances and he did not need to send the defendant to prison. Instead, he imposed a 12 month community order with 20 days rehabilitation activity requirements and an alcohol treatment program.