Drunken knifeman threatened to stab his sister -- in front of their mother

NEWS from Nottingham Crown Court.
NEWS from Nottingham Crown Court.

A drunken Bulwell man held a knife against the throat of his petrified younger sister and threatened to stab her -- in front of their mother.

“She honestly thought that he was going to kill her,” Gareth Gimson, prosecuting, told Nottingham Crown Court.

Michael Harris, 31, was jailed for eight months and banned from seeing or going anywhere near his sister, Chloe Tate, for five years.

The court heard that Harris also punched Chloe, swore and screamed at her, grabbed her in a headlock and threw her on to a sofa where she “curled up into a ball”.

The judge, Recorder Edward Boydell, told him: “You subjected her to a degrading series of acts of violence that were extremely frightening.”

The rumpus broke out at the home of Chloe and her mother, Pamela, at Brayton Crescent, Bulwell on Tuesday, February 2.

It also used to be Harris’s address, but he had been thrown out after causing previous disturbances there and “making a nuisance of himself”.

After a drinking session with a friend, he broke in through a window that he knew had been damaged, and helped himself to a bottle of wine, the court heard.

When Chloe returned home at 6.20 pm, he began to verbally abuse her. As she took refuge in the bathroom, Harris kicked the door open and continued to shout at her while she was on the toilet with her trousers and underwear round her ankles.

“He then grabbed her by her hair and dragged her out of the bathroom,” said Mr Gimson. “When she tried to run for the door, he pulled her back. She was terrified.”

After his mother also returned home, Harris fetched a large knife, with a six-inch blade, from the kitchen and threatened his sister with it.

Mr Gimson continued: “He seemed distant and enraged, and said: I will stab you, stab her and then kill myself. Chloe was crying and petrified. After the mother rang the police, he left.”

The court heard that Harris and his sister used to have a “very good relationship” in which she saw him as “a loving and caring brother”.

“But the death of a cousin, to whom he was very close, caused him to go off the rails, and he turned to alcohol” Mr Gimson added.

“When he was arrested and interviewed by police the following day, he said he was an alcoholic and couldn’t even remember what had happened.”

This was confirmed by his barrister, Steve Ramsel, mitigating, who said Harris reacted with “sheer disbelief” when he was told what he had done.

He was already receiving treatment for his drinking problem, and “immediately took himself off to hospital for detoxification”, realising he had re-lapsed.

“He now acknowledges that the experience for his mother and sister must have been very harrowing,” said Mr Ramsel. “It is a case of extreme regret, and it all comes down to drink.

“He behaved like a horror of a person. Since he was arrested, he has been hating himself and has been receiving help. Things are looking positive and he is now dry.”

Harris, who has 20 previous convictions on his record, pleaded guilty to charges of affray and burglary. As well as the prison sentence, a restraining order, lasting until 2021, was imposed on him, preventing him making any contact with Chloe or going within 100 metres of her home or workplace at St Joseph’s School on Derby Road in Nottingham.

“The place where you committed these offences should be regarded as a sanctuary where your mother and sister feel safe,” the judge told him. “This has been violated, and you have significant bridges to build with your family.”