A man armed himself with kitchen knives and tried to stab a fellow bus passenger.
Adam East – who was hoping to become a doctor until his mental health deteriorated – apologised to his victim as he attacked him, telling him he wanted to be locked up.
A judge said it would be a “travesty” if the 42-year-old did not get the help he needed to address the underlying causes of his behaviour, and said he did not just hope but he expected such assistance would be made available.
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Swansea Crown Court heard that early on the morning of August 28 this year the victim boarded an X13 bus heading for Swansea city centre. A few stops later East boarded the service and initially sat a few rows in front of the man before moving to join him on the back seats.
Georgina Buckley, prosecuting, said as the bus approached the High Street railway station and the victim stood up to alight, East said “sorry” to him and he felt a “pressure” on the right side of his stomach – when he looked down he saw the defendant was trying to stab him with a knife. The victim grabbed the defendant’s hand and then the bus driver, seeing the disturbance at the rear of the vehicle, stopped and went to help.
East was disarmed, and began shouting at the pair: “You don’t understand – I want to get arrested”.
Police were called, and as officers approached the defendant he produced another knife from his bag. East was detained and arrested, and in his subsequent interview he said he experiences “ideas that he has to hurt people” and, while he is normally able to ignore them, when he has been drinking he believes he needs to stab someone.
The court heard the passenger the defendant tried to stab suffered a very small cut in the incident but it had had a major psychological impact on him, and left him feeling anxious and unsafe on public transport – his usual way of getting to work.
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Adam Cryf East, of Beattie Street, Cwmdu, Swansea, had previously pleased guilty to attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm with intent and to two counts of possession of a bladed article when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has previous convictions for assaulting a police officer in 2005, and possession of knife in Swansea bus station in 2019.
Ian Ibrahim, for East, said the case involved a “most unusual set of fact”, and acknowledged that the sentencing exercise was not an easy one.
He said East had a PhD in mathematics from Aberystwyth University and in 2012 had begun to study at Swansea University to become a doctor until his mental health deteriorated to such an extent that he was not able to continue. The barrister said during the Covid lockdown, East began to drink alcohol to excess once again.
Mr Ibrahim said it was clear from the reports before the court that defendant had suffered a traumatic childhood, and subsequently had been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder and a borderline personality disorder. He said the courts were well aware of the “terrible under funding” of mental health services, particularly over the last decade, and he described his client who is somebody was is “crying out for help”.
Judge Geraint Walters said he had sympathy for anybody with mental heath problems, particularly where assistance is not provided to the extent that it should be, but he said there was nothing more dangerous than arming one’s self with a knife, and he had a duty to protect the public.
The judge told East he was clearly a highly intelligent man but one with deep rooted mental health issues, and said it was clear his actions on the day in question had been, in part, a cry for help. He said he had anguished over what sentence to pass but felt unable to depart in a significant way from the sentencing guidelines.
With a one-third discount for this guilty pleas East was sentenced to 28 months in prison. The defendant will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.
The judge told him: “I significantly hope – and indeed more than that, expect – those who plan for your release back into the community have taken every possible step available to them to assist you in ensuring that the root causes of this offending are sufficiently alleviated to enable the public to feel safe, and for you to get on with your life as once was.
“That is my hope, and indeed expectation – I make it clear it would be a travesty if upon your release… to simply release you to your own devices would be failing the public and failing you.”
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