Sheffield siege man’s knife threat

Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson
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A KNIFEMAN who held a blade to his terrified partner’s throat sparked a huge emergency on a Sheffield estate when he wielded the weapon in the street and threatened to attack police officers.

Trained negotiators were called in to persuade 36-year-old Mark Johnson to drop the seven-inch kitchen knife during a tense three-hour siege on Winn Gardens in Middlewood.

Johnson yelled at police to ‘back off’ and shouted: “Don’t come any nearer, you know what will happen.”

The dad also waved the weapon on the balcony of his home and claimed he was about to stab himself.

Neil Coxon, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court the stand-off happened in the early hours of September 2 after a row between Johnson and his ex-partner, Samantha Duxbury, spiralled out of control.

Samantha, 25, has two young children with Johnson, as well as another two from a previous relationship, and the couple looked after them together.

But Mr Coxon said the four-year relationship was ‘volatile’, and Johnson had a history of convictions for domestic violence against partners.

“Samantha and the defendant went out drinking together and started arguing,” he told the court.

Johnson returned home to Winn Gardens first and Samantha followed later, he added, with the argument continuing when she arrived.

“The defendant at one point was shouting in her face. She scratched him on the neck and he pushed her on to a settee. He then took hold of a knife with a blade of approximately seven inches.

“He held the blade up to her face and threatened her with it. He quickly released her, she then left the property and went to a neighbour’s house, where she contacted the police.”

Officers arrived at 3.25am and found Samantha ‘visibly upset’, Mr Coxon said.

Police searched the area and found Johnson walking in the middle of the road, still holding the knife.

“He was observed by police to be waving it around,” Mr Coxon added.

More officers were called as back-up, and Johnson began to approach the police vehicle with the weapon.

“He shouted to them, ‘Don’t come any nearer, you know what will happen’. He also shouted to them that they should ‘back off’.”

The officers were about to deploy tasers when Johnson decided to return to his home, where he waved the knife from the balcony.

Mr Coxon told the court: “He was making threats with the knife, aimed both at himself and the police.”

Trained negotiators arrived at 4.30am, and Johnson was arrested after he gave himself up at around 7.20am.

In interview, he admitted being ‘very drunk’ and said he grabbed the knife as it was the closest thing to hand.

“He was regretful and remorseful for what had happened,” Mr Coxon said.

Johnson - who was jailed for 15 months - had previous convictions for common assault, criminal damage and affray.

In a statement read to the court, Samantha said she didn’t want him to be locked up, even though he attacked her.

“I don’t want to be responsible for the kids’ dad going to prison,” she said. “Me and the children really miss him.”

But Judge Jeremy Baker QC said: “I have a wider responsibility to take into account. Only a sentence of imprisonment is justified.”

He said the incident was ‘potentially lethal’ and told Johnson: “There may well have been some measure of provocation but your reaction was wholly disproportionate.”

Johnson, now of Pollard Road, Southey Green, admitted affray, knife possession and common assault.