A WHITEHAVEN man recently released from jail for brandishing a knife at guesthouse owner returned to the same property after his release — again armed with a blade.

When police interviewed Ryan Bennett about his original offence in 2018, he candidly told officers he wanted to attack the guesthouse owner.

He even explained how, saying he wanted to either “kneecap” the man he was looking for or by “putting the knife he had through the man's neck,” Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Without any justification, the 35-year-old believed the people in the guesthouse had committed offences.

Prosecutor Tim Evans outlined how on March 22 last year, after being released early from prison, Bennett returned to the guesthouse armed with knife, its blade measuring eight inches.
CCTV images showed the defendant, of Brakeside Gardens, Whitehaven, loitering in the guesthouse lobby in Woodhouse Road, Whitehaven.

“It was the same male carrying out a repeat visit,” said Mr Evans.

“He was waving the knife around.”

As the alarmed property’s owner watched the live CCTV footage, he had felt “considerable fear”, said Mr Evans.
Fortunately, when the police arrived, they were able to subdue Bennett without using a Taser, said Mr Evans. Bennett was also carrying a small quantity of amphetamine.

The defendant admitted possessing a knife in a public place without lawful authority.

Describing the earlier offence, Mr Evans said Bennett had arrived at the guesthouse 10.15pm, hurling a plant pot through a window and yelling racist abuse.
He appeared to be under the influence of something.

Bennett had produced a knife from his waistband, only surrendering when police drew a Taser.

The prosecutor said of the defendant’s account: “He said it was just as well that the man had shut the door otherwise he would have got the knife.”
Sean Harkin, speaking for Bennett after his latest offence, said he suffered with his mental health.

The defendant heard voices in his head, and it was his 'delusion' about the guesthouse owner that had fuelled his hostility towards him, explained the lawyer. 

When he committed both offences, he was in the grip of that delusional but unfounded belief about the guesthouse owner. “His problems are made worse by his drug intake,” added the lawyer.

“Even without being under the influence of drugs, still suffers with auditory hallucinatory episodes.  His mental health is therefore a significant mitigating factor.”

Judge Simon Medland QC told Bennett it was within his power to lead a “more civilised life”. But on October 18, 2018, he behaved violently and abusively at the guesthouse.

He had only failed to carry out this earlier attack because the intended victim had shut the door in his face.

Yet shortly after his release he returned to the same guesthouse. The owner feared for his safety, and that of his partner and guest.

The judge told Bennett: “You were under the influence of drugs, on licence at the time for a virtually identical offence and from that sentence you had apparently learned nothing.

"It’s obvious that the root of your problems is your repeated refusal to quit yourself of drug addiction, which greatly disturbs your mind.”

The judge jailed Bennett for 30 months and imposed a restraining order, banning contact with the victim for five years and from entering Woodhouse Road for the same period of time.