Judge issues warning to woman who 'waved knife' as pupils were leaving primary school

Judge issues warning to woman who 'waved knife' as pupils were leaving primary school

A WOMAN who was "waving a knife" as pupils were leaving a primary school in County Down has been given a two year conditional discharge.

45-year-old Ausra Baksaite, of Church View in Holywood, admitted offences linked to the adjacent St Patrick's Primary School at 3pm on Tuesday April 12 this year.

She appeared at Newtownards Magistrates' Court for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to possessing a knife in a public place 'without good reason or lawful authority' in the vicinity of Church View in Holywood.

She also admitted 'assaults' involving three people, which a defence barrister said were "non-contact".

During a previous bail application a PSNI officer told the court police were tasked to a report of a female at her home address who was "waving a knife" which was "approximately eight inches long".

The officer said St Patrick's Primary School was "finishing" at the time.

The officer had added: "The female was wearing pyjamas and a dressing gown and was shouting for cars to stop banging doors outside her property.

"The knife was being waved in front of children as young as five".

The officer said a number of parents asked the defendant to "put the knife away" but the defendant said she "didn't care".

When interviewed by police, the earlier court heard, the defendant "admitted being at her front door and having the knife in her hand".

The defendant accepted to police there were children nearby.

The officer said Baksaite told police "she was having trouble with school parents parking outside her house while picking up and dropping off children".

The court heard the defendant said letters had been written to the school and parents "however they still continued to do it".

The officer said Baksaite said in the interview she "just went mad" and had wanted to cause a "scare".

A defence lawyer told the earlier court the defendant is originally from Lithuania.

He said there was no question it was a "severe, serious, case" but she had no criminal record.

He had added: "Her motivation, albeit skewed, is quite clear. She had plenty of opportunity to assault somebody if she wished to and she did not".

District Judge Mark Hamill had told the original bail hearing: "The whole thing is extremely disturbing".

The defendant has now been back in court for sentencing and a prosecutor said the defendant had been in possession of "a large kitchen knife".

A defence lawyer said Baksaite had "remained" in the doorway of her home during the incident.

The court heard the defendant still lives in the rented property and the defence barrister said there had been no further issues.

He said Baksaite had spent time in custody in connection with the case.

He said parking close to her home had "stopped" after "somebody had intervened, either the school or the police".

The lawyer said Baksaite had no intent to harm and no contact had occurred with anyone.

He court heard the defendant is receiving continuing "mental health treatment".

Judge Hamill said reference was made in a pre-sentence report to "autism".

He said when the defendant rented the property "she may have noticed there was a school" nearby and added: "Schools tend to be noisy places especially at picking up and dropping off time".

Handing down a two year conditional discharge, Judge Hamill said: "I have sympathy and I have concern. Sympathy for her mental health background; concern for the safety of these people at the school. I am going to try and balance the two."

The judge told Baksaite: "Get help for your mental health problems but do not produce a knife in public ever again and certainly do not make any kind of disturbance near this primary school ever again".

He said if she offended again the next two years she will be brought back for sentencing.

  • Main picture: St Patrick's Primary School in Holywood.