Benefits protest at Leeds jobcentre lands knifeman in jail

Scales of justice
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A MAN who was armed with a knife when he handcuffed himself to a radiator during a protest at a jobcentre has been jailed.

Gary Fryer carried out the failed publicity stunt in demonstration against having his benefits stopped.

Fryer, 49, used toy plastic cuffs to attach himself to the radiator at the job centre in Pudsey and lay a six-inch kitchen knife on the floor beside him to prevent staff from trying to intervene.

Fryer was jailed for two years and eight months after a judge heard he had served a five-year prison sentence for stabbing a man to death.

Fryer was aged 24 when he was convicted of manslaughter for fatally stabbing a rival in the chest in a dispute over a girlfriend.

Ewan Mclachlan, prosecuting, said Fryer went into the centre on Church Lane on October 28 this year and handcuffed himself to the radiator. Police arrived on the scene within minutes and arrested Fryer.

He told officers he had the knife to prevent people from seeing that the handcuffs were only plastic and could easily be removed. Fryer, of Rossefield Road, Bramley, pleaded guilty to possession of a knife.

Ian Cook, mitigating, said Fryer had intended to use the knife to keep people away from him long enough for the media to arrive but police got there first.

Jailing Fryer, Judge Sally Cahill, QC, said: “Your hope was that the media would attend to cover a legitimate protest.

“The media did not attend - the police did. You have previously been before the courts on one occasion. You know from that one occasion how serious the consequences of having a knife in a public place can be.”

As he was sentenced, Fryer called from the dock: “I wasn’t angry at the staff. I was angry at the legal system for refusing to help me, Your Honour.”

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