Desperate Knife Wielding Claimant Sent to Prison

Wednesday 17 January, 2018 Written by  Wales Online
Desperate Knife Wielding Claimant Sent to Prison

A Claimant driven to the end of his tether, grabbed members of staff at a Welsh job centre and threatened them with a knife after his benefits were stopped.

Ian Littlewood, 47, took out the weapon and told staff at the Ebbw Vale job centre “this is going to be sorted out today or somebody’s going to pay” after he was told his benefits would be suspended.

The defendant, who was sleeping rough at the time of the incident, also told frightened members of staff that “you’re all going to have it if you don’t give me my money”.

A sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court on Monday heard the incident took place at the job centre in Ebbw Vale just before 4pm on November 24 last year.

Reading out a victim personal statement from Anne Kinnear, who was assaulted by Littlewood, prosecutor John Lloyd said the defendant became “violent and aggressive” after he was told his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) would be stopped as he failed to attend a medical appointment.

Mr Lloyd added: “(Mrs Kinnear) described the defendant pulling out a kitchen knife. He grabbed a security guard and held the knife near his face, while the security guard remained calm and tried to calm Littlewood down.

“He let the security guard go and went to the waiting area. He then grabbed Mrs Kinnear from behind and pulled her backwards while he had hold of her clothes.

“She said, ‘He grabbed my right shoulder and I was terrified because the knife was so close. I wondered what part of my body he would stick it in. I feared for my life and wanted to back away, but I couldn’t’.”

After letting Mrs Kinnear go, Littlewood ran to a secure door where other staff members were sheltering and carried out a “flying kick”, shattering a glass windowpane.

Mr Lloyd continued: “The defendant later handed over the knife but continued to be irate and tried to leave. When security stood in his way he forcibly pushed past the and remonstrated with them before leaving the premises.”

Littlewood was arrested days later and later pleaded guilty to threatening another with a bladed article, criminal damage and assault by beating.

In her victim personal statement, Mrs Kinnear said the incident had affected her ability to continue working at the job centre and suffers frequent flashbacks.

She added: “I have become withdrawn, snappy and don’t feel safe to go out on my own or even in my own home.”

Others members of staff also described feeling threatened, unsettled and frightened about work and of feeling unable to deal with working with the public.

Asa result of the incident, Littlewood was also in breach of a conditional discharge in relation to a public order offence and he was also due to be sentenced for a shoplifting offence.

Defence barrister Jeremy Jones said his client accepted the offence crossed the custody threshold.

Ebbw Vale job centre

Image: Ebbw Vale job centre

Describing the background of the case, Mr Jones said Littlewood was sleeping rough in a shed and was “financially desperate” when he was told he would not be receiving his benefits at the job centre.

He said: “He was desperate and felt he had been cast aside. He felt he could not survive and he was low in himself.”

Sentencing, Judge Jeremy Jenkins QC said: “You acted wholly disproportionately, armed yourself with a knife and went to Ebbw Vale job centre and when you were told you would not receive your benefits, you ran amok in that office.

“You caused widespread panic and alarm and I saw the CCTV where women are running around terrified because you brandished and threatened them with a knife.”

He added: “What I saw was your extremely violent nature that went on for 10 minutes and I bear in mind the ongoing effects on the victims of your behaviour. You have made it impossible for them to continue as before.”

Littlewood was sentenced to a total of 34 months imprisonment, including four months for the conditional discharge breach and one month for the shoplifting offence.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Simon Collyer Wednesday 17 January, 2018 posted by Simon Collyer

    Absolutely appalling that this poor man was put in this position. As usual the authority’s poor the blame on this unfortunate man.

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