Man brandished knife at social housing project in Barnsley

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Staff at a social housing project in Barnsley feared for their safety when a man with mental health issues armed himself with a 12-inch knife, a court heard.

John Rowe, aged 30, confronted neighbour Steven Savage at a social housing project in Bank End Avenue, Worsbrough, Barnsley.

Sheffield Crown Court heard there had been problems between the two in the past and Rowe armed himself because he was ‘scared’ of his physically stronger neighbour.

He later told police he never intended to use the blade.

Support worker Trudy Gillespie said she feared for her own safety and that of other staff at the project.

“It was a scary situation that could have ended a lot worse than it did,” she said.

Both men were initially charged with affray but the prosecution offered no evidence against Mr Savage and a formal not guilty verdict was entered.

Rowe, who appeared in the dock at Sheffield Crown Court flanked by two escorts, admitted a lesser charge of threatening behaviour.

Prosecutor Neil Coxon said the incident happened on Wednesday, November 13 last year when both men were living at the project.

There was both a verbal and physical confrontation between the pair and staff tried to calm Rowe down, who was clearly distressed.

He said Rowe pushed workers out of the way and went in to the kitchen where he picked up the knife.

As staff tried to separate the pair, they clashed again and Mr Savage took the knife off Rowe and waved it around.

A staff member screamed at him to drop the knife and the police were called.

Andrew Smith, representing Rowe, said he needed further treatment with his mental health issues.

Judge Paul Watson gave Rowe a 12-month community order with mental health treatment and supervision requirements and told him to live where he is directed by the Probation Service.