Homeless spice addict jailed for chasing youths with a knife

A spice addict who chased after troublesome youths with a knife in Wakefield has been locked up.

Monday, 29th November 2021, 4:30 pm

The pair had been abusing staff at the homeless shelter in Wakefield, Marsh Way House, on the afternoon of July 7 when Dean Cunningham became angry and ran after them with a five-inch-long kitchen knife shouting "come on then!", Leeds Crown Court was told.

Prosecuting, Robert Galley, said the police were called and Cunningham was arrested. The court was told that it was third time he was caught possessing a knife in public so custody was mandatory.

He was only sentenced in June for possessing a knife, for which he was given a six-month suspended sentence.

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Cunningham was handed an 18-month jail term.

He has 92 previous convictions.

Appearing via video link from HMP Leeds, where he was remanded for his latest case offence, he admitted possession of the knife and affray.

Mitigating, Christopher Styles told the court that the two victims had been abusive to staff and were causing trouble that day.

Speaking about Cunningham's behaviour he said: "It was a misguided and unacceptable attempt to move those individuals away from the residential unit."

He said that Cunningham, who is now 47, had a very difficult upbringing having been moved from care home to care home.

He developed an addiction to cannabis, solvents and alcohol, then later heroin and spice.

Mr Styles said: "While it can't excuse his behaviour it provides some explanation to the position he find himself in.

"He was homeless and addicted to spice. He has a long history of mental health difficulties."

But he said his time held on remand has helped him deal with his problems.

Judge Mushtaq Khokhar told him there "has to be custodial sentence" and so handed him an 18-month jail term.

He told him: "Your time in custody so far has worked to your benefit. Your liberty may be restricted but while in custody your mental health has improved.

"You are medicated and are receiving counselling, you coming out would disrupt that, so the sentence is tailored for that."