Foyleside knife-carrying man receives suspended sentence

Foyleside shopping centre
Image caption The incident happened in Foyleside Shopping Centre on Saturday at about 15:45 GMT

A police officer grappled with a man holding a knife in a Londonderry shopping centre, a court has been told.

The officer managed to disarm the 30 year old in front of a crowd in Foyleside on Saturday afternoon.

Dale Edward Walsh, from Portland Court in London, pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour, resisting a police officer and possessing a knife.

He was sentenced to four months, suspended for two years, and fined £600.

Walsh, a labourer from London, arrived in Northern Ireland ahead of a visit to his grandfather in County Donegal.

Second knife

A police witness told Londonderry Magistrate's Court that a woman in a distressed state told a police officer on patrol inside Foyleside that she had seen the defendant in an intoxicated condition and holding a knife.

She then pointed out the defendant from an overhead balcony.

The officer approached the defendant from behind and grabbed him by the left arm before knocking an unsheathed 5in-long knife from the defendant's right hand.

The officer then tried to apply handcuffs but Walsh struggled and tried to pull away.

The police officer managed to restrain Walsh and asked him if he had any other items on his person.

The defendant then produced a second knife with a 4in-long blade.

'Disgraceful'

The police officer then managed, along with another officer, to apply restraints to the defendant who told the police that he had just bought the two knives inside the shopping centre.

The police witness said the defendant became increasingly aggressive.

A security guard told the officers that the defendant had asked him minutes earlier if he had ever stabbed anyone with a knife.

Defence barrister Stephen Chapman said Walsh was not proud of his actions.

Walsh had consumed a complimentary glass of alcohol on his flight from England to Northern Ireland, his barrister said, and consumed more alcohol when he arrived in Northern Ireland.

Mr Chapman said Walsh's behaviour must have been "frightening to witness".

He said Walsh had no convictions in Northern Ireland but had several public order convictions in England, some of which he had been jailed for.

District judge Barney McElholm described Walsh's behaviour as "disgraceful and distressing to other people".