Menace who sparked evacuation of South Shields baby unit is finally jailed

David Kirsop.
David Kirsop.

A menace who kept his freedom after causing the evacuation of a maternity unit by threatening to set himself on fire outside is now behind bars.

David Kirsop was given a suspended jail term for the terrifying hospital stand-off when he appeared in court last December - but has now been locked up after he was found lying on a main road with a large knife protruding from his pocket.

It was in August last year when women in the process of giving birth and others who had just had their babies at South Tyneside District Hospital had to be transferred to other departments as a result of Kirsop's 45 minutes of threats.

Pregnant patients due to arrive for treatment or because their babies were coming had to be diverted to other hospitals while the 31-year-old stood outside covered in flammable liquid - which he repeatedly said he would ignite.

At Newcastle Crown Court last December Kirsop, of Pickering Court, Jarrow, who has a long criminal record, was given a three-month jail term, which was suspended after a judge accepted his remorse for what happened was genuine.

Kirsop told the court at the time: "In the time I have had to reflect, there has not been one day gone by that I haven't thought about the people in that maternity ward.

"I have got a lot of guilt and shame for that.

"I would like to apologise to them."

Kirsop has now been jailed for a total of 13 months at the same court after being found lying in Bede Burn Road, in Jarrow, on August 2 with a large knife sticking out from his pocket.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court police had received a report of a male lying in the road and added: "The defendant was lying on the floor with a ten centimeter bladed, black handled knife, visibly hanging from his right trouser pocket.

"The defendant was spoken to and was reluctant to stand or do anything."

Mr Pallister said Kirsop had to be restrained before he was arrested and later confessed he had been drinking lager all day and taken two ecstasy tablets.

He had a blue pill, believed to be another ecstasy tablet, in his pocket.

Kirsop admitted having a bladed article and attempting to possess ecstasy in relation to the new offences.

Mr Recorder John Aitken told Kirsop he had been "given a chance" in the past but said the three-month suspended sentence, plus a separate five-month suspended term Kirsop was subject to for having another knife, must be activated.

The judge imposed a further five-month jail term for Kirsop carrying the knife in Jarrow, making a total jail term of 13 months.

Graeme Cook, defending, said Kirsop only ever intends or threatens to hurt himself, not other people and has been diagnosed with an emotionally unstable personality disorder.

Mr Cook said Kirsop had now accepted an immediate prison term was a "reality".