Exeter knife woman taunted by park boys escapes jail

A woman who threatened a group of young boys with a knife in a Devon park, has been spared jail.

Exeter Crown Court was told Jean Harrison was verbally abused and taunted by three boys aged between 12 and 15 in Summerway Park in February.

The 52-year-old of Willowbrook Avenue, Exeter, Devon, went home and returned to the park armed with a knife.

Harrison admitted possessing an offensive weapon and affray and was given a two-year community order.

The court heard Harrison, who had been drinking, was walking her dog in the park when she fell over.

When the boys asked what was wrong she lashed out at one of them, after which the boys made some "racist and unpleasant" comments to Harrison.

When she returned armed with the knife, the boys ran off and called the police.

'Provoked rage'

Harrison then started waving the knife at an innocent 15-year-old girl who was on her way home, said prosecutor Gareth Evans.

Police armed with protective shields found Harrison locked in her bedroom with the knife.

During police interviews Harrison said she had "seen red" and was in a "rage after being provoked by the children".

Defending her at an earlier court hearing, solicitor Rob Jacobs said Harrison suffered from anxiety and alcoholism and the children had been taunting and verbally abusing her for some time.

Sentencing her to a 24-month community order with supervision, Judge Brian Cotter QC told Harrison any breach would result in her being jailed.

"These offences are completely unacceptable - it was extraordinary behaviour," he said.

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