Psychiatrist to assess beggar

An aggressive beggar is to be assessed by a psychiatrist before he is sentenced next month.

Jamie Cooke, aged 24, who failed in a test case bid to overturn his anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) at the High Court, has admitted six breaches of the order.

As well as banning him from begging in Northampton town centre, it also forbids him from entering a designated area. Cooke, of The Pyghtle, Earls Barton, who is known to self-harm in public, is also banned from carrying knives, razor blades or using a syringe in public.

At London's High Court in October, lawyers for the drug addict argued the ASBO was "unjust and effectively criminalised him" for his mental health problems.

Hannah Mettam, defending, said his "emotionally unstable personality disorder" meant Cooke simply "cannot help himself" and was incapable of complying with the ASBO.

However, Lord Justice Dyson, sitting with Mr Justice Pitchford, dismissed Cooke's appeal against the ASBO issued against him by Northampton Magistrates' Court in February.

He pleaded not guilty to six breaches, prior to the High Court hearing, but at Northampton Crown Court yesterday, he admitted six offences of breaking its terms.

He had entered Northampton town centre on June 9 and July 4; acted in a manner likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress on August 20; had a knife in his possession on August 21 and August 28; and begged for food or money on September 6. The court had heard how he had a personality disorder and had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Judge Ian Alexander QC adjourned sentencing to allow for Cooke to be assessed by a second psychiatrist.