Teen carried eight-inch blade in town centre

Date: Friday 21st December 2018

A TEENAGER who threatened to harm himself with a large kitchen knife in Penrith town centre could face six months in prison.

Xander Lyndon Cossey (18), Mary Langley Way, Penrith, pleaded guilty to possessing the 8in blade in a public place on 1st December when he appeared at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

The court heard this will be his second conviction for possession of a knife or offensive weapon and therefore he may face a mandatory minimum sentence of six months’ imprisonment.

Mr Lee Dacre, prosecuting, said security staff at the Foyer in Old London Road alerted police to a man with a knife near the building around 4am.

Police found Cossey sitting on the wall by a car park. He was distressed and holding a knife and threatening to harm himself. He said his girlfriend had cheated on him and he had nothing to live for. Police would have to “put a bullet in his head” or Taser him.

Officers were able to talk Cossey out of harming himself and when he handed over the knife he was arrested. Mr Dacre added that Cossey had made no threats to anyone else. However, he had a relevant previous conviction from 2014.

Mr Mark Shepherd, defending, said the offence was committed while Cossey was under the influence of both drink and drugs.

He described Cossey as a young man “in crisis” who has been through the youth court and has always had difficulties.

His relationship with his girlfriend had been a stable constant throughout many difficult times.

Mr Shepherd asked the court: “As a society should we be sending people to prison for being in mental turmoil?” He suggested it would benefit Cossey more if he was dealt with in the community and given support.

District Judge Gerald Chalk said Cossey had a poor record of public order offences and had posed a danger to others by having the knife in public.

This led him to commit the case to be sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court on 9th January.