Belfast Telegraph

Man who had bag of knives at Mater Hospital avoids jail

By Ashleigh McDonald

A Belfast man who brought three knives to the Mater Hospital did so as a "bizarre cry for help", a court has heard.

Hugh Anthony Butler (32), from Cliftonville Road in the city, appeared in the dock of Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday where he received a suspended sentence for possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.

A representative from the Public Prosecution Service said police were called to the Mater Hospital at around 6am on May 24 in relation to a man brandishing a knife and issuing threats.

Police seized a black backpack from Butler and when they opened the bag, they recovered a further two knives. He was subsequently arrested, and during the police interview Butler said: "I told them the knives were there to hurt myself with."

The prosecutor said Butler subsequently admitting possessing the knives, and told officers he had been trying to get help – but realised it was "not a wise thing to do".

Defence barrister Richard McConkey reiterated the point that his client had brought the knives to the hospital as he was "trying to get assistance for himself" and branded the incident "an absolutely bizarre cry for help".

Mr McConkey added that his client had issues with alcohol and there was a "significant mental health background".

The Deputy District Judge handed Butler a four-month sentence, which she suspended for two years. She also warned Butler to "keep out of trouble" for two years.

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