Suspended sentence for knife woman tackled by brave Matalan staff in Darlington

Teesside Crown Court

Teesside Crown Court

First published in News
Last updated

A KNIFE-wielding thief who was bravely tackled and disarmed by shop staff has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Andrea Blakeburn brandished the knife when she was confronted over the theft of clothing and other items from Darlington’s Matalan store on Neasham Road.

Prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, David Crook said Blakeburn had helped herself to clothing worth £135 and left the store without paying. He said the items were still on hangers.

When she was challenged the 48-year-old swore at staff and said: “Don’t come near or I will knife you.”

Staff backed off, but continued to follow Blakeburn along surrounding streets. When she was distracted one staff member crept up behind her and “bravely” disarmed her of the knife, Mr Crook said.

The court heard how Blakeburn, of Pateley Moor Crescent, Darlington, who admitted theft, possession of a bladed article and threatening behaviour on May 13 this year, had previously been jailed for benefit fraud.

A day after that sentence her partner died and she eventually fell into a downward spiral of more and more offending.

A pre-sentence report on Blakeburn suggested any risk she posed could be managed within the community without the need for a prison sentence and also said her health problems could be assessed and controlled better this way.

She had already spent two months on remand while awaiting the conclusion of her case.

Judge Michael Slater said what he found most troubling about Blakeburn’s criminal record was the knife possession.

He said: “You are a shoplifter, you’re being arrested while in drink.

This is a potentially volatile combination and sooner or later somebody is going to get hurt.”

The judge suspended a six month jail sentence on Blakeburn for two years and also made her subject to a supervision order.

Comments (22)

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5:00pm Tue 22 Jul 14

cromwell1599 says...

Sounds about right, of course the best way to deal with a knife weilding maniac who has already been inside is to be 'managed in the community', presumably they'll say the same when she does it again.
Sounds about right, of course the best way to deal with a knife weilding maniac who has already been inside is to be 'managed in the community', presumably they'll say the same when she does it again. cromwell1599
  • Score: 55

5:14pm Tue 22 Jul 14

DP20 says...

Totally agree , quick slap on the wrist for the naughty girl , what happens next time when she does actually attack someone whilst in drink, she needs hard time where she is of no danger to the public , typical justice system make the criminals out to be the victim, why doesn't she get a job and stop drinking there are plenty of places she can get help if she really wants it but as in most cases getting pi***d and robbing to fund the habit goes hand in hand, the country is a joke not only for ppl like her but for ppl from other countries who see the UK as a soft touch
Totally agree , quick slap on the wrist for the naughty girl , what happens next time when she does actually attack someone whilst in drink, she needs hard time where she is of no danger to the public , typical justice system make the criminals out to be the victim, why doesn't she get a job and stop drinking there are plenty of places she can get help if she really wants it but as in most cases getting pi***d and robbing to fund the habit goes hand in hand, the country is a joke not only for ppl like her but for ppl from other countries who see the UK as a soft touch DP20
  • Score: 45

5:41pm Tue 22 Jul 14

maclaren says...

The judge said you are a shoplifter and in drink, this is a volatile combination and sooner or later someone is going to get hurt, then he gives her a suspended sentence, says it all does,nt it I thought our judicial system was there to get dangerous people off the streets obviously not, our judicial system is a joke, way way to soft, and the law abiding citizens
Are sick and tired of it, I don't know how some of our judges and magistrates sleep at night, they should be ashamed of themselves.
The judge said you are a shoplifter and in drink, this is a volatile combination and sooner or later someone is going to get hurt, then he gives her a suspended sentence, says it all does,nt it I thought our judicial system was there to get dangerous people off the streets obviously not, our judicial system is a joke, way way to soft, and the law abiding citizens Are sick and tired of it, I don't know how some of our judges and magistrates sleep at night, they should be ashamed of themselves. maclaren
  • Score: 39

5:45pm Tue 22 Jul 14

maclaren says...

Total respect to the matalan staff, people like you are the salt of the earth, well done.
Total respect to the matalan staff, people like you are the salt of the earth, well done. maclaren
  • Score: 42

7:06pm Tue 22 Jul 14

NOTODDEN says...

This person is a car crash waiting to happen with the potential to hurt others. I despair - what happened to the well publicised clampdown on people carrying knives - 5 yrs prison? Ban this person from all Darlington retail premises and any pub that still serves her
This person is a car crash waiting to happen with the potential to hurt others. I despair - what happened to the well publicised clampdown on people carrying knives - 5 yrs prison? Ban this person from all Darlington retail premises and any pub that still serves her NOTODDEN
  • Score: 38

7:36pm Tue 22 Jul 14

railwaygrafter says...

Pathetic sentence, in terms of future Crime Prevention, the sentence is as much use as a ....**Chocolate Fireguard'. No wonder the British Public are sick and tired so called 'learned Judges', beggars any belief.
Pathetic sentence, in terms of future Crime Prevention, the sentence is as much use as a ....**Chocolate Fireguard'. No wonder the British Public are sick and tired so called 'learned Judges', beggars any belief. railwaygrafter
  • Score: 30

7:39pm Tue 22 Jul 14

think twice says...

I'm surprised the Matalan staff were not prosecuted for harassing this poor girl!
I'm surprised the Matalan staff were not prosecuted for harassing this poor girl! think twice
  • Score: 26

7:39pm Tue 22 Jul 14

stevegg says...

So wheres the deterrant/ Why are offenders escaping jail sentances, what a joke. Thats another nail in the coffin for British so called justice where offenders rights trump victim/public safety. Why arent judges held to account for their decisions! If she goes on to stab someone the judge should be tried foe misconduct in a public office. Thought there would be a sob story to excuse her behaviour. Criminals will just keep pushing boundaries until some meaningful sanction is imposed. I like many others have lost all faith in English justice which pampers criminals and is a mockery.
So wheres the deterrant/ Why are offenders escaping jail sentances, what a joke. Thats another nail in the coffin for British so called justice where offenders rights trump victim/public safety. Why arent judges held to account for their decisions! If she goes on to stab someone the judge should be tried foe misconduct in a public office. Thought there would be a sob story to excuse her behaviour. Criminals will just keep pushing boundaries until some meaningful sanction is imposed. I like many others have lost all faith in English justice which pampers criminals and is a mockery. stevegg
  • Score: 33

7:55pm Tue 22 Jul 14

lfp says...

Threaten peoples lives, steal clothing, do a runner. Lets not make a fuss, the judge did not.
Threaten peoples lives, steal clothing, do a runner. Lets not make a fuss, the judge did not. lfp
  • Score: 25

7:56pm Tue 22 Jul 14

NOTODDEN says...

stevegg wrote:
So wheres the deterrant/ Why are offenders escaping jail sentances, what a joke. Thats another nail in the coffin for British so called justice where offenders rights trump victim/public safety. Why arent judges held to account for their decisions! If she goes on to stab someone the judge should be tried foe misconduct in a public office. Thought there would be a sob story to excuse her behaviour. Criminals will just keep pushing boundaries until some meaningful sanction is imposed. I like many others have lost all faith in English justice which pampers criminals and is a mockery.
Spot on
[quote][p][bold]stevegg[/bold] wrote: So wheres the deterrant/ Why are offenders escaping jail sentances, what a joke. Thats another nail in the coffin for British so called justice where offenders rights trump victim/public safety. Why arent judges held to account for their decisions! If she goes on to stab someone the judge should be tried foe misconduct in a public office. Thought there would be a sob story to excuse her behaviour. Criminals will just keep pushing boundaries until some meaningful sanction is imposed. I like many others have lost all faith in English justice which pampers criminals and is a mockery.[/p][/quote]Spot on NOTODDEN
  • Score: 19

9:39pm Tue 22 Jul 14

behonest says...

A 6 month suspended sentence and nothing else, she walks free for carrying a knife, stealing and threatening to kill. If you park your car 5 minutes more than you've paid for you will be punished more severely than this. Darlington. What a fantastic town.
A 6 month suspended sentence and nothing else, she walks free for carrying a knife, stealing and threatening to kill. If you park your car 5 minutes more than you've paid for you will be punished more severely than this. Darlington. What a fantastic town. behonest
  • Score: 38

10:12pm Tue 22 Jul 14

railwaygrafter says...

The Rot set in years ago with the ultra ***Liberal*** Good Doers Howard League of Penal Reform are a starring pathetic example, followed by decades of canvassing again by many LIBERAL and labour punters, all for for ultra soft sentence for criminals. All the poor victims of crime who had to put up with crime effected misery, were completely ignored. The system stinks to high heaven, again all for the wasters and repeat criminals. You and I are of little, if any significance, in this pathetic so called Justice system. Further more when some do finally get prison, any real work they do there is minimal, next to nothing. Reopen Dartmoor with hard labour.
The Rot set in years ago with the ultra ***Liberal*** Good Doers Howard League of Penal Reform are a starring pathetic example, followed by decades of canvassing again by many LIBERAL and labour punters, all for for ultra soft sentence for criminals. All the poor victims of crime who had to put up with crime effected misery, were completely ignored. The system stinks to high heaven, again all for the wasters and repeat criminals. You and I are of little, if any significance, in this pathetic so called Justice system. Further more when some do finally get prison, any real work they do there is minimal, next to nothing. Reopen Dartmoor with hard labour. railwaygrafter
  • Score: 9

12:11am Wed 23 Jul 14

superposh says...

this shows what Britain is now. Full of oxygene thieves, living off the state,
with so much money ( tax payers) that they can be " IN DRINK" , threaten people just doing their jobs, carry a knife and get six months, SUSPENDED

Lets go back 50 years and let the punishment fit the crime!!!

Lets start with 10 years before parole
this shows what Britain is now. Full of oxygene thieves, living off the state, with so much money ( tax payers) that they can be " IN DRINK" , threaten people just doing their jobs, carry a knife and get six months, SUSPENDED Lets go back 50 years and let the punishment fit the crime!!! Lets start with 10 years before parole superposh
  • Score: 17

8:39am Wed 23 Jul 14

oliviaden6 says...

Managed in the Community! How many times have we heard this statement, I hope and pray that those words do not come back to haunt the courts and officials who are manageing it in the Community.
All to often it is not, the individuals are just sent on their merry way to reek more havoc and mayhem.
Managed in the Community! How many times have we heard this statement, I hope and pray that those words do not come back to haunt the courts and officials who are manageing it in the Community. All to often it is not, the individuals are just sent on their merry way to reek more havoc and mayhem. oliviaden6
  • Score: 15

11:46am Wed 23 Jul 14

Homshaw1 says...

Carrying a knife is unacceptable. Using it as part of a theft should carry a sentence of several years.

How would the judge, solicitors and social workers who advocated such a lenient sentence feel if their family were on the receiving end of a knife crime.

The CPS should be asking for a stiffer sentence.
Carrying a knife is unacceptable. Using it as part of a theft should carry a sentence of several years. How would the judge, solicitors and social workers who advocated such a lenient sentence feel if their family were on the receiving end of a knife crime. The CPS should be asking for a stiffer sentence. Homshaw1
  • Score: 14

1:18pm Wed 23 Jul 14

Ally F says...

Quote from Conservative Party policy to tackle knife crime:

"We need to send out a clear and unequivocal message that knife crime is unacceptable, and that carrying a knife will lead to serious punishment."

Yes, 6 months suspended will surely do that. You can't more serious a punishment than a slap on the back of the hand can you?
Quote from Conservative Party policy to tackle knife crime: "We need to send out a clear and unequivocal message that knife crime is unacceptable, and that carrying a knife will lead to serious punishment." Yes, 6 months suspended will surely do that. You can't more serious a punishment than a slap on the back of the hand can you? Ally F
  • Score: 11

3:49pm Wed 23 Jul 14

railwaygrafter says...

Can you imagine ?.... if a miracle had happened ?...and she had been sent to prison,....... an ****Liberal Party backed 'open prison ? In on the MONDAY ... OUT escaping on the TUESDAY, like hundred of others we have read about recently. Costing the British working Taxpayer Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds for their 'recapture' of escapees. . You certainly 'could not make it up', even worse than an 'old fashioned lunatic asylum' being run by the lunatics, what a pathetic disgusting liberal orientated so called Justice System.
Can you imagine ?.... if a miracle had happened ?...and she had been sent to prison,....... an ****Liberal Party backed 'open prison ? In on the MONDAY ... OUT escaping on the TUESDAY, like hundred of others we have read about recently. Costing the British working Taxpayer Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds for their 'recapture' of escapees. . You certainly 'could not make it up', even worse than an 'old fashioned lunatic asylum' being run by the lunatics, what a pathetic disgusting liberal orientated so called Justice System. railwaygrafter
  • Score: -1

6:33pm Wed 23 Jul 14

LUSTARD says...

railwaygrafter wrote:
Can you imagine ?.... if a miracle had happened ?...and she had been sent to prison,....... an ****Liberal Party backed 'open prison ? In on the MONDAY ... OUT escaping on the TUESDAY, like hundred of others we have read about recently. Costing the British working Taxpayer Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds for their 'recapture' of escapees. . You certainly 'could not make it up', even worse than an 'old fashioned lunatic asylum' being run by the lunatics, what a pathetic disgusting liberal orientated so called Justice System.
crank
[quote][p][bold]railwaygrafter[/bold] wrote: Can you imagine ?.... if a miracle had happened ?...and she had been sent to prison,....... an ****Liberal Party backed 'open prison ? In on the MONDAY ... OUT escaping on the TUESDAY, like hundred of others we have read about recently. Costing the British working Taxpayer Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds for their 'recapture' of escapees. . You certainly 'could not make it up', even worse than an 'old fashioned lunatic asylum' being run by the lunatics, what a pathetic disgusting liberal orientated so called Justice System.[/p][/quote]crank LUSTARD
  • Score: -1

7:10pm Wed 23 Jul 14

LUSTARD says...

superposh wrote:
this shows what Britain is now. Full of oxygene thieves, living off the state,
with so much money ( tax payers) that they can be " IN DRINK" , threaten people just doing their jobs, carry a knife and get six months, SUSPENDED

Lets go back 50 years and let the punishment fit the crime!!!

Lets start with 10 years before parole
well you cant spell, so i presume you married money or earned it another way,
[quote][p][bold]superposh[/bold] wrote: this shows what Britain is now. Full of oxygene thieves, living off the state, with so much money ( tax payers) that they can be " IN DRINK" , threaten people just doing their jobs, carry a knife and get six months, SUSPENDED Lets go back 50 years and let the punishment fit the crime!!! Lets start with 10 years before parole[/p][/quote]well you cant spell, so i presume you married money or earned it another way, LUSTARD
  • Score: -7

11:38pm Wed 23 Jul 14

behonest says...

LUSTARD wrote:
superposh wrote: this shows what Britain is now. Full of oxygene thieves, living off the state, with so much money ( tax payers) that they can be " IN DRINK" , threaten people just doing their jobs, carry a knife and get six months, SUSPENDED Lets go back 50 years and let the punishment fit the crime!!! Lets start with 10 years before parole
well you cant spell, so i presume you married money or earned it another way,
Stupid comment. Nothing whatsoever to do with the article.

Incorrect grammar, too. Pot, kettle, black....
[quote][p][bold]LUSTARD[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]superposh[/bold] wrote: this shows what Britain is now. Full of oxygene thieves, living off the state, with so much money ( tax payers) that they can be " IN DRINK" , threaten people just doing their jobs, carry a knife and get six months, SUSPENDED Lets go back 50 years and let the punishment fit the crime!!! Lets start with 10 years before parole[/p][/quote]well you cant spell, so i presume you married money or earned it another way,[/p][/quote]Stupid comment. Nothing whatsoever to do with the article. Incorrect grammar, too. Pot, kettle, black.... behonest
  • Score: 8

12:43pm Thu 24 Jul 14

hogworth says...

What a farce, should have received 3 years minimum and made to serve the full term. If only all us contributors to this column were made members of the judiciary there would be some more realistic sentences handed down!
What a farce, should have received 3 years minimum and made to serve the full term. If only all us contributors to this column were made members of the judiciary there would be some more realistic sentences handed down! hogworth
  • Score: 4

3:47pm Sun 27 Jul 14

Risk555 says...

Its soul destroying logging in here every day & reading about the complete dregs of society being given a slap on the wrists for their crimes.

I actually wonder what you need to do in todays society to be given any kind of worthwhile custodial sentence.
Its soul destroying logging in here every day & reading about the complete dregs of society being given a slap on the wrists for their crimes. I actually wonder what you need to do in todays society to be given any kind of worthwhile custodial sentence. Risk555
  • Score: 1

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