Chance for Northampton drug addict to turn his life around after machete and knife found in car by police

Judge: 'There are exceptional reasons not to make an immediate custodial sentence and I'm prepared to give you a chance'

Friday, 17th September 2021, 5:33 pm
Updated Saturday, 18th September 2021, 4:12 am

A Northampton drug addict was given a chance to 'turn his life around' after a machete and a kitchen knife were found in his car by police.

Ashley Catton told officers he had forgotten about both items after he used the knife to cut cable ties keeping his wing mirror on and he found the machete on a dog walk.

The 52-year-old, of Pembroke Road, was sentenced to eight months in jail, suspended for a year and nine months, at Northampton Crown Court today (Friday, September 17).

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Northampton Crown Court

His Honour Judge David Herbert QC told him: "You are here because that wasn't the first time you have committed these offences.

"In 1989, 1992 and 2000 you committed bladed article offences or possessed offensive weapons.

"There must be exceptional circumstances to not send you to jail... I'm prepared to find there are exceptional reasons not to make an immediate custodial sentence and I'm prepared to give you a chance."

The prosecuting barrister said Catton was being arrested for an unrelated matter when police officers discovered the knife and machete in his car on July 28.

The black kitchen knife was in the pocket of the driver's door and the machete with a wooden handle was behind a plastic container in the boot.

Catton's defence counsel explained he had reattached his wing mirror with glue and cable ties and had used the knife to cut the ties once the glue had set but forgot to put it back.

While the defendant found the machete on a dog walk a few months earlier and did not want to leave it so he put it in the boot of his car.

The barrister added that Catton was struggling with drug abuse after his wife of 20 years had set fire to their home as she thought he was cheating on her.

"She had heard rumours Mr Catton was seeing someone else and that lady fell pregnant - it wasn't his child but his wife put two and two together and couldn't deal with matters.

"The events of all that played on his mind, a mixture of guilt and frustration, all manner of emotions which he couldn't deal with.

"In an emotional sense, he is a vulnerable individual because of drug abuse over the years with amphetamine - it's a mounting weight that he bears.

Catton was also worried about losing his house as his wife's name is on the tenancy and he cares for his 28-year-old step-son who has ADHD.

As well as the suspended sentence, the defendant will have to complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a six-month drug rehabilitation programme.

Judge Herbert told him: "Your hope is, with the assistance you are going to be provided, you may be able to make progress on turning your life around and dealing with your drug addiction."