Leeds Tesco shopper left terrified after spotting 'homeless' man with nine-inch knife

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A terrified shopper rang 999 after spotting what he thought was a homeless man brandishing a large knife out of a supermarket.

Darryl Vaughan was seen outside the Tesco Express store on Dewsbury Road, Beeston, pulling out the blade as a customer walked past him on the afternoon of January 15, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Vaughan quickly hid the knife when he noticed the man had seen it, but the man was so concerned he called the police after walking away. Officers arrived and found 41-year-old Vaughan nearby. He tried to drop the knife when he saw the police, prosecutor Robert Galley told the court. He said the blade was between seven and nine inches in length.

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Vaughan had the blade outside Tesco on Dewsbury Road (pic by Google Map)Vaughan had the blade outside Tesco on Dewsbury Road (pic by Google Map)
Vaughan had the blade outside Tesco on Dewsbury Road (pic by Google Map) | Google Map

After being arrested, he told officers he was intoxicated, had found the knife and had no intention of harming anyone other than himself. He admitted a charge of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place. He has 40 previous convictions for 73 offences, most notably he has two for possessing knives in public, meaning his latest offence would attract a mandatory six-month jail term.

Mitigating, Nicholas Hammond conceded Vaughan's best mitigation was his early guilty plea. He said he had had been living at accommodation on Bismarck Street, Beeston, which is run by St Anne's Community Services for those with mental health issues.

Mr Hammond said: "He [Vaughan] acknowledges these issues are aggravated by alcohol. He did not have the knife to harm anybody else. He is a prolific self harmer."

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Judge Andrew Stubbs KC said: "Unfortunately you have a number of previous convictions for carrying knives. I accept you did not have it to harm anyone but the danger is that anything can happen with them. It's just too dangerous."

He handed Vaughan the mandatory six-month jail sentence, but gave him a reduction to reflect his early guilty plea, making a total of 146 days.

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