Man, 24, was in 'highly emotional state' when he ran at cars armed with a knife
PUBLISHED: 13:19 17 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:05 17 October 2019
A suicidal man who was brandishing a large knife when he ran in front of cars in Thetford has been jailed for 16 months today.
Sentencing 24-year-old Luke Betts Judge Rupert Overbury said: "You kept running out in front of vehicles to see if they would knock you over. Fortunately no-one, including yourself, was hurt."
"You went out in public with a large knife in a highly emotional state and placed many members of the public at serious risk of injury.
"I accept that you had no intention of hurting anyone other than yourself when you left your home with that knife but your means of doing that put numerous people in jeopardy of being caught up in what you were doing," said the judge.
"I am satisfied that what you did was essentially a cry for help."
Betts, 24, from St Michaels Close, Thetford, admitted possessing a knife on May 6 this year.
One motorist described feeling "petrified" when he saw Betts "charging" towards him in Bury Road making a stabbing motion with the knife.
Nathan Fuller, 19, of Icknield Way, was on the way home with his girlfriend at around 10.30pm when he saw Betts step off of the kerb.
"I did an emergency stop when he started sprinting towards the car. That's when I saw he had a knife.
"I just thought I have got to get out of here and I put the car into reverse and turned around," said Mr Fuller.
In his state of panic he hit the kerb and went into a metal barrier, causing damage to the car.
"I had to get as far away as possible," Mr Fuller added, "I was shaking. I didn't know what he was going to do and thought we were going to die."
Charles Kellett, prosecuting at Ipswich Crown Court, said a woman was driving near Star Lane in Thetford when a man holding a kitchen knife jumped out in front of her Fiat 500.
She drove round him and warned oncoming motorists by flashing her headlights.
Another motorist described Betts, who was holding a knife, stepping into the road in front of him with his arms outstretched. He swerved to avoid him.
Juliet Donovan for Betts said her client had taken illegal drugs and suffered from anxiety and depression.
She described his behaviour on the night in question as selfish and said he was extremely remorseful.