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Southend knife-wielding woman is jailed
A WOMAN has been jailed for brandishing a knife in Southend High Street and assaulting two police officers.
Abigail Walker, 41, of Cossington Road, Westcliff, admitted possessing a 14cm blade in the town centre when she appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
Police were called to the town at about 1.40pm on Tuesday, after a member of the public said they feared for their safety due to Walker walking around with the blade.
Three officers found Walker in London Road where they tackled her to the ground and restrained her, before she gave up the blade.
She was taken into custody, but later attacked two female officers, which left one with a grazed elbow and the other with scratches.
Adam Merrick, mitigating, said Walker, who is a selfemployed gardener, was from bipolar and was stressed with the amount of work she had to do.
He said she wanted to see mental health services that day but was told she couldn’t until Friday.
It led her to drink alcohol, negating her medication.
He said: “This may have been a cry for help.”
The court heard Walker was nearing the end of a suspended sentence for a similar offence.
She was sentenced to a total of 13 weeks in prison – 12 weeks for possessing a weapon, one week for breaching her suspended sentence, and two weeks for each incident of assault, which will run concurrently.
Paul Fisher, chairman of the bench, said: “Having a knife visible to the public causes people serious concern.
“We accept it may have been a cry for help but we have to take all these matters into consideration.”
Speaking after the hearing, Chief Insp Simon Anslow, district commander for Southend, said the two officers who were assaulted went on to complete their shift.
He said: “I’m proud of the way my officers conducted themselves.
“Despite Walker being in possession of a knife my officers tackled her and didn’t need to use CS gas or batons.
“If you are in possession of a weapon in a public place you can expect police officers to deal with it.
“I’m disappointed that assaults on brave officers dealing with difficult situations have resulted in such a minor penalty.”