Northampton man spared more jail time despite knife attack on Billing Aquadrome neighbour in drug-induced psychotic episode

Tonks took 'cocktail' of drugs in days before attack at caravan park, the court heard

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 4:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 5:00 pm

A Northampton man was spared any more time in jail despite attacking a neighbour with a knife in a psychotic episode caused by taking a 'cocktail' of drugs.

Dale Tonks had already pleaded guilty to wounding after stabbing the man in the stomach and cutting his arm and finger in the incident at Billing Aquadrome in March.

The 26-year-old, of Goose Pastures on the caravan park, was given an 18-month prison sentence suspended for two years at Northampton Crown Court today (Tuesday, July 13).

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Northampton Crown Court

Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking decided to make the unusual ruling for a knife offence as the victim is actually in support of the defendant and that he would not spend long in jail.

"The circumstances are peculiar as the complainant in this case is not actually a complainant as they have not complained," she said.

"Instead writing a letter in support that in his view, the normally pleasant young man acted in a very unusual way.

"People who use a knife on another person will go to prison, there are only exceptional cases where this isn't the case."

Jonathan Dunne, prosecuting, said Tonks had been having 'increasingly paranoid delusions' in the days leading up to the knife attack, according to his mother whom he lived with at Billing Aquadrome.

On March 27, she had had enough and went to a friend's for some respite but a neighbour became concerned about the defendant's welfare and decided to check on him.

No witness statement from the victim was given so Mr Dunne could not say for sure what happened but it appeared Tonks was armed with a kitchen knife and a pair of scissors, which he used to attack the neighbour.

Police were called at around 9.30pm and the defendant tried to flee but was found by a police dog, which also found the discarded knife and scissors.

A psychiatric report later found Tonks had been taking a 'cocktail' of spice, cannabis, cocaine and heroin which had caused a psychotic episode.

Micaila Williams, defending, said a combination of 'dabbling' in drugs, particularly spice, and the coronavirus lockdown had caused the incident.

Since not taking drugs while being remanded in custody, he has realised they were the reason behind his mental health issues and wants help to address them, according to the lawyer.

"Before you is a sober man, a clear-headed man, looking back on a man he can't believe he was," she added.

Judge Lucking decided to suspend Tonks' sentence as he would only spend five months in prison before being eligible for release on licence and his good character references.

"I have reflected on this long and hard and I think the better approach would be a suspended sentence order as he has already spent a period in custody as a result of wounding somebody with a knife," she said.

"Had he not, I would have struggled to consider a non-custodial sentence appropriate."

Tonks will also have to complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days