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Court told of knife drama at shop
9:22am Friday 6th September 2013 in Romsey
A ROMSEY shopkeeper fought off an attacker who pointed a six-inch knife at his chest.
David Peacock grabbed the knife as he feared for his life in the attack by Christopher Ellard, who also sprayed the contents of a fire extinguisher in his face.
Ellard, 39, had been abusive and aggressive to staff at Premier in Mercer Way earlier that day and when he returned at about 4pm, Mr Peacock asked him to apologise, but he refused.
Instead, he became aggressive and starting yelling, Southampton Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor, Sadie Rozzo, said Mr Peacock tried to calm him down, but Ellard flew into a rage and hurled a sweet rack around.
When the owner came from behind the till, Ellard produced the steak knife.
Fearing he was going to be stabbed, Mr Peacock backed away, but when he became trapped in a corner, he made a grab for the knife.
“He felt he was fighting for his life,” said Ms Rozzo..
Ellard, still holding the knife in one hand, grabbed a fire extinguisher with the other and sprayed the contents into Mr Peacock’s face, blinding him temporarily.
Ellard then hurled the extinguisher at him, swore and left, grabbing a bottle of vodka and a box of washing powder on the way.
The court heard the confrontation happened in front of staff and customers, one of whom was so frightened that she had to be escorted out of the shop.
Another customer followed Ellard down the road to his house, where he was arrested by police a few minutes later.
Mr Peacock said the incident had left him shaking and in a state of shock.
Ellard, of Mercer Way, admitted robbery and possessing an offensive weapon.
Judge Peter Henry, who read a series of medical reports, was told that Ellard suffered from a psychotic illness with delusions and mood swings.
He had previous convictions for arson, burglary, damage and battery, which involved unprovoked attacks on strangers, one of whom he had set upon with a hammer.
The judge ordered him to be detained at a special hospital for treatment, with a direction that he could not be released without the permission of the Secretary of State.
In mitigation, Justin Hugheston-Roberts said Ellard had received treatment previously, but not of sufficient length.
“It may be that he is not curable, but he is treatable. When he is on medication, he is more stable, but at the time of the offences, he had not been taking his medication and had been drinking, which is an explosive combination.”
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