'Delusional' knife-wielding man launched attack on his neighbour outside Leeds flat

A "delusional" man who refused to eat, drink or sleep attacked his city-centre neighbour while armed with a knife.
Coffey attacked his neighbour at Merchants Quay. (pic by Google Maps)Coffey attacked his neighbour at Merchants Quay. (pic by Google Maps)
Coffey attacked his neighbour at Merchants Quay. (pic by Google Maps)

James Coffey had stopped taking his medication and his life spiralled out of control, Leeds Crown Court heard this week.

Then on the morning of October 17 last year, Coffey's neighbour at the block of flats on Merchants Quay, East Street, had been leaving his home when he was confronted by the 53-year-old.

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The court heard Coffey was "angry and irate" and was complaining about the "banging noises" his neighbour had been making, which puzzled the man.

Coffey then launched at the man and tried to grab his keys from the door. The pair wrestled before the neighbour realised Coffey was holding a four-inch folding-type knife and immediately backed away.

Coffey was arrested later in the day, having called police and told them he was feeling suicidal. He has no previous convictions and admitted common assault and possession of a bladed article in public.

Mitigating, Emily Hassell said Coffey was having "considerable difficulties with his mental health".

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She said: "He was purposely not eating or drinking and not sleeping. He was suffering from delusions and suicidal ideation.

"In the last four months he has made some good progress. He is being regularly seen by a psychiatrist. He can't offer any explanation as to why he took a knife to his neighbour's."

Judge Andrew Stubbs KC told Coffey: "You have never been in court before, and now here you having involved yourself in an argument with your neighbour in which he was entirely blameless.

Coffey attacked his neighbour at Merchants Quay. (pic by Google Maps)Coffey attacked his neighbour at Merchants Quay. (pic by Google Maps)
Coffey attacked his neighbour at Merchants Quay. (pic by Google Maps)

"You were not thinking rationally at all. You know what happens when you don't take your medication. You were making bad choices. He must have been terrified when he saw the knife."

He gave him eight months' jail, suspended for 12 months, and 30 rehabilitation days.

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