A SOUTHEND peace campaigner arrested with a seven-inch knife outside 10 Downing Street has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

The 41-year-old Southend man, who has changed his name by deed poll to the Ninja Ant, told police he wanted to harm himself in a protest about wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He was said to have held the blade to his stomach in Whitehall in March 2007 and threatened to sacrifice his life.

Jurors failed to reach a verdict on a charge of having a bladed article in a public place in July and he was due to face a retrial yesterday at Southwark Crown Court.

But Judge David Higgins said he doubted a retrial was in the public interest, considering how much public money had already been spent on the case, He added: “What possible sort of sentence does the Crown think could properly be imposed for an incident of this nature, taking the Crown's case at its highest?

The judge formally entered a not guilty verdict The Ninja Ant, of Norwich Avenue, Southend, told the earlier trial hearing a Kylie Minogue song on his MP3 player had made him change his mind about using the knife.

The peace-campaigner is in the process of changing his name again by deed poll – to General Ninja Ant.

He explained: “It’s because I’m not a civilian any more and I believe in armed revolution.”