Southampton thief thrust knife at pair outside Sports Direct

A SHOPLIFTER who thrust a knife at two security guards has been jailed. Andrew Cornhill “wriggled and resisted” when two security guards tried to stop him making off with stolen goods from Sports Direct in Above Bar Street on November 11 last year. The 57-year-old took out a concealed knife and stabbed “backwards with some force” at the “good samaritans” who had put him in an arm lock, a court heard.

One of them felt something go into his jacket. Cornhill of Wyndham Court appeared before Southampton Crown Court on Tuesday. He had previously pleaded guilty to shoplifting at Southampton Magistrates’ court.

During a later trial, a jury delivered a guilty verdict for a charge of attempted grievous bodily harm and carrying a knife in a public place. Prosecution barrister, Lucy Conroy told the court how Cornhill has convictions dating back to the 80s. These include for the possession of a bladed article in a public place.

His last conviction was in 2012 for public order. Ms Conroy said how a female security guard working in Sports Direct had heard the store alarm. She saw Cornhill holding a large blue holdall bag then leaving.

But when the girl tried to get him to go back he ignored her. After the knife was pried from Cornhill’s hand, his bag was searched to reveal two stolen jackets and a pair of stolen trousers. In mitigation, it was said he has a history of mental health issues including treatment for paranoid schizophrenia.

During sentencing, Judge Christopher Henry said that although no physical harm was done, Cornhill posses a serious risk of causing serious harm to the public.

He was jailed for five-years.

He will spend three years on licence when he is released.

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