A prolific Sheffield criminal has been put behind bars again over the attempted robbery of two girls he threatened with a potato peeler.
Sheffield Crown Court heard how Mark Bennett’s teenage victims were sitting on a bench outside Peacocks on The Moor in Sheffield City Centre when he approached them on the evening of August 8 this year.
“The defendant went over to the young women and said: ‘If you don’t give me your phone I’m going to stab you,” said Michael Tooley, prosecuting.
Mr Tooley described how Bennett, of no fixed abode, then said to one of the girls: ‘If you don’t speak English I’m going to bang you,’ before brandishing a weapon they initially believed to be a Stanley knife.
READ MORE: Man found dead in Sheffield city centre
The court heard how following his arrest, police ascertained that the weapon wielded by Bennett was in fact a broken potato peeler.
“One of the girls said she was scared he was going to stab her,” added Mr Tooley.
The girls were able to make their escape after Bennett began accosting an unidentified male nearby.
He was arrested later that evening.
In a victim personal statement read out in court, one of the girls said she was frightened of what Bennett might do and kept thinking about her young son and the potential impact the incident could have on him.
The court heard how Bennett has a total of 36 offences on his extensive criminal record, the first of which was committed when he was just 16-years-old.
When the altercation took place Bennett was still on license after being released from prison for an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, the circumstances of which Assistant Judge Advocate General Paul Camp described as being ‘very similar’ to his latest spate of offending.
Bennett, 46, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted robbery and one count of possession of a bladed article in a public place at an earlier hearing.
The court heard how after suffering a head injury in a 2014 attack the defendant has neurological problems that mean he is quick to anger.
He had just been informed that he was about to be evicted from the hostel he had been staying at, due to damage he had caused, prior to the incident taking place, the judge was told.
As he sentenced him to two years in prison, Judge Camp told Bennett the altercation must have been ‘very frightening for the two young girls’.
He added: “There’s a history of behaving in a dangerous way towards people you encounter. There’s no evidence, however, that you caused significant psychological or physical harm to them.”