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Man took cue in self-defence.

Byline: Mike Brown Reporter

A MAN brandished a pool cue on a busy Middlesbrough street after being "knocked clean out" over a PS10 debt.

John Paul Wilkes, 32, was captured on CCTV waving the pool cue around and stumbling into oncoming traffic on the corner of Linthorpe Road and Gresham Road, in Middlesbrough town centre, on July 5. Prosecuting, Jenny Haigh told Teesside Crown Court on Tuesday that a member of the public had seen Wilkes being punched outside his address at nearby Park Road North, Middlesbrough.

The passer-by saw Wilkes go into the property and leave with a walking stick - but realising his intentions, took it off him. Wilkes then went back inside and returned with a pool cue, before following the man who had punched him with it.

Ms Haigh said Wilkes had 23 convictions for 39 offences on his record.

Mitigating, Kieran Rainey said Wilkes had answered his front door to a man demanding a PS10 debt be repaid. "He was lifted clean off his feet by a punch to the face. Mr Wilkes weighed about eight stone at the time, the man had knuckledusters on.

"The man also has a knife secreted down his waistband, that cannot be seen on the CCTV.

"Mr Wilkes lost control of his senses, he had been briefly knocked unconscious. The man had told him he was going to return with a baseball bat. He does not hit anyone with the pool cue, it is self defence. He accepts that what he did was wrong. But the red mist comes down, and he decides the best form of defence is attack."

Mr Rainey told the court that Wilkes had spent a considerable period of time out of trouble, but had returned to offending with a series of shop thefts - because a local food bank he visited had run out of food.

He also said he had reduced his daily methodone intake while in custody.

The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, sentenced Wilkes - who admitted being in breach of a conditional discharge for shoplifting imposed in April - to five months in prison.

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 25, 2014
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