Partner jailed over knife terror ordeal

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A man who subjected his partner and another woman to a terrifying ordeal has been jailed for 16 months.

Matthew Birkby helped himself to the biggest knife in the kitchen – a carving knife – and called his partner names, even accusing her of sleeping with other people.

After that he went to confront a man who had taken the woman’s side when Birkby was verbally abusive to her at a party on March 1.

Birkby, 30, of Garstang Road South, Wesham had pleaded guilty to offences of affray and having a bladed article.

Jeremy Grout-Smith, prosecuting, said an incident first happened at a party the defendant had gone to with his partner. Birkby became drunk and angry, shouting abuse at her, before a man stepped in to defend her, sparking an argument with Birkby.

Birkby followed his partner home.

She was in the kitchen and he went to a knife block, picked up the largest knife he could find and began calling her abusive names. He accused her of sleeping with other people and was shouting at her. A female friend of hers was also present.

He claimed it was her fault that he had been punched at the party, said the prosecution.

He pointed the knife at the ceiling.

He left to return to where the party had been, to confront a man.

That man saw Birkby hiding behind a van and emerging to confront him. The man disarmed the defendant, or was in the process of doing. But when the police arrived at the end of the incident the two men were shaking hands.

Birkby no longer had the knife at that stage.

Paul Robinson, defending, said Birkby had thought the knife would act as a deterrent as he went to head back to where the party had been.

“Quite clearly, this was a serious incident, the fact he brandished a knife in the presence of two females, in a home environment, as is being armed with a knife in the street.

“It was potentially dangerous circumstances.

“He blamed his partner for being drunk and was angry with her.

“He and his partner want to remain friendly. They have taken a decision that the relationship is over”.

In passing sentence, Judge Graham Knowles QC, said “This was a terrifying incident for the two females. You were in high agitation and drink.

“The situation had trouble and danger written all over it.

“The Court of Appeal has said so many times that where knives are taken out onto the street that there is danger. The danger is of mayhem, of terrible injury, of death.

“The same is true in a home. It is all the greater when anger and alcohol are involved.”