Paranoid schizophrenic took six-inch knife to South Shields charity centre because people '˜believed he was a paedophile'

Richard Loughlen appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.Richard Loughlen appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.
Richard Loughlen appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.
A paranoid schizophrenic took a six-inch chef's knife to a charity centre because he said people believed he was a paedophile.

Richard Carr Loughlen, 46, was arrested after police were called to the Barnardo’s building, in Stanhope Parade, South Shields, South Tyneside magistrates heard.

Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said the offence happened at 4.45pm on December 4.

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She said: “Police were called to the Bardnardo’s Building after reports Mr Loughlen had a knife.

“Once inside the building, they encountered him in a communal area and challenged him. He was asked if he was in possession of a knife.

“He said ‘yes’ and that it was for his own protection.

“A knife, with an in-excess blade length of 3.5 inches was found in his trouser pocket. He was taken to Southwick police and interviewed.” She said that during the interview, Loughlen, of East Avenue, South Shields, was asked how big the knife was.

She said: “He said ‘well over six inches’ and confirmed that he had it for his own protection and sdaid this was because ‘quite a few lads’ were after him.

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“He was asked who they were and said he didn’t know but that he had heard them in his mum’s back garden and said that, when he’s been out, he has been followed.

“He was able to give a few Christian names and said they were out to get him.

“He said ‘they think I’m a paedophile’.”

Loughlen pleaded guilty to possession of a knife.

Charlie Carr, defending, said: “He was on his way to the First Contact Clinical Service Centre.

“Clearly at the moment he has some significant mental health difficulties and, on the day in question, he was actually seeking help.

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“It is because of his paranoid schizophrenia that he has committed this offence.

“The best way is to get him more help.

“It is noted that there is no violence on his record.”

Loughlen was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 30 days’ specified activity and was told to pay £85 costs and an £85 surcharge.