A SUPERMARKET worker was left terrified when a deranged woman came up to her car window armed with a knife.
Sharon Denby demanded Gillian Glover take her from the car park of Morrisons in Bideford to Instow, but she drove off to escape her.
Denby was sent to a mental hospital after a judge heard the knife attack was one of a bizarre series of incidents in which she also walked into other people’s houses and stared at the pictures on their walls.
Police had to restrain her as she tried to harm herself in an alleyway next to the supermarket, Exeter Crown Court was told.
In the past she has been rescued after threatening to jump off Bideford Bridge.
The 41-year-old was not present at Exeter Crown Court for her sentencing hearing because she chose not to leave the psychiatric hospital in Northampton where she is being treated.
Denby, of Hill Garden Close, Bideford, admitted burglary, having a bladed article and threatening behaviour at an earlier hearing.
The Judge said: “This defendant has a long history of mental health problems which formed the background to offending behaviour in the past, although these primarily relate to threats to herself.
“One or two of these have been public cries for help such as standing on the bridge at Bideford and all have arisen entirely from her mental condition.
“She is not a danger to anyone other than herself and I am satisfied she suffers from a treatable mental disorder. The provisional diagnosis is of a psychotic disorder overlaying an autistic spectrum disorder and she is also schizophrenic.”
Mr James Taghdissian, prosecuting, said Denby was seen out in the early hours on August 6 last year in Fordlands Crescent, Bideford and shortly afterwards she went into a house.
She sat down, looked at pictures, took a small knife and left before the occupants got up, moving to Orchard Hill where she left the knife on the window ledge of another house.
Police were called when residents reported a prowler and she was arrested and cautioned before being released.
The events at the Morrison shop happened three weeks later when she left her home armed with a three inch vegetable knife.
She was arrested after a taxi driver reported her acting strangely in Chanters Road and officers then received of a report of her having threatened Morrison’s worker Gillian Glover.
She had just left work and got into her car close to an alleyway at Newton Road when Denby approached her passenger window.
Mr Taghdissian said: “She said ‘take me to Instow’. The driver said no and Denby then appeared at her door. She had a knife and asked to be taken to Instow again. Mrs Glover drove off in fear and distress.”
Mr Nigel Wraith, defending, said Denby had chosen to stay in hospital rather than attend court but agreed she needs treatment and consents to the order being made in her absence.