Sheffield criminal who has committed 100 offences gets chance to 'turn life around' after latest conviction

Sheffield Crown Court
Sheffield Crown Court
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A man convicted of more than 100 offences has been given a chance to turn his life around after being caught carrying a knife during a Sheffield street fight.

Michael Burke, who has 57 previous convictions for 101 offences, was found to be carrying the kitchen knife after police intervened in a fight between him and a member of his ex-girlfriend's family on Richmond Road in Handsworth.

Burke, aged 53 and of Richmond Road, was facing a mandatory six-month prison sentence due to his previous convictions for carrying weapons - but judge Recorder Smith has given him five months to prove that his capable of turning his life around after the defendant said he was getting treatment for his alcoholism.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that on July 12 at about 8.30pm police were called to reports of two men fighting on the street in Richmond Road, with the other man involved in the incident telling officers Burke had a kitchen knife in his pocket.

The defendant had not used the knife during the incident but said he had been drinking beforehand and 'must have put a knife in his pocket when preparing a meal and forgotten about it'.

Burke, whose criminal history stretches back to 1981, had three relevant previous convictions relating to carrying weapons - including possession of an axe in 1995.

The court heard Burke has had a 'life lived on the edge', but is now trying to address his problems with alcohol after recently finding out his mother was an alcoholic who took her own life and ending a relationship with a partner who was also a drinker.

Recorder Smith said he would defer sentence on Burke for the offence of possessing a knife in a public place until February to see if he could continue his recent good progress.

He told Burke: "I'm told you want to change your ways and I'm going to give you the opportunity."

He said the defendant will have to be able to demonstrate that he has taken 'significant steps to address your misuse of alcohol'.

Recorder Smith added: "I also want progress reports from the organisations you choose to go to. Those progress reports better be good.

"That will hopefully spare you the inevitable mandatory six-month minimum sentence."