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Judge orders report on Bideford woman who threatened shop worker with knife

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: October 05, 2012

A JUDGE has ordered a psychiatric report on a woman who frightened a shop worker with a knife in a supermarket car park.

Sharon Denby, aged 41, will now be assessed with a view to her being sent to a mental hospital rather than jail for the incident at Morrison's store in Bideford.

Denby, of Hill Garden Close, Bideford, admitted burglary, having a bladed article, and threatening behaviour. She is accused of stealing a knife from a house in Fordlands Crescent, Bideford, and using it to threaten Morrison's worker Gillian Glover.

Denby approached her in the car park of the store and demanded to be driven to Instow. The knife, which had a three inch serrated blade, was not used and the victim was not hurt.

She was arrested at the scene in a suicidal state after police were called by a taxi driver who spotted her with a knife in the Morrison's car park.

She later told police she was suffering from mental health issues which led her to enter other people's property and look at pictures on their walls.

A previous hearing has been told that Denby was very lonely and unhappy at the time and would enter other people's homes, sit down, and look at pictures to make herself feel comfortable.

Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, adjourned sentence and said: "What is needed is a psychiatric report with a view to a recommendation for a mental health act disposal.

"My immediate concern is that at the moment she is on remand in Eastwood Park Prison when she should be somewhere else where she would pose no threat to herself or others. I would be sympathetic if there was any sensible alternative available.

"I am more concerned about her mental state that caused her to behave in this way and what can be done to help her. She is a lady of previous good character."

Mr Nigel Wraith, defending, said: "She is a lady with problems. She has pleaded guilty on the basis that in the incident in the car park she approached this lady and said she wanted to go to Instow.

"She had a knife in her hand but does not go further than that although the prosecution say she waved it and threatened to cut the driver."

The case was adjourned until November 12.

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