Mental health issues led to knife offences

A YOUNG woman trying her ‘level best’ has been given a community order after pleading guilty to three counts of possessing a sharp object in public, three counts of assaulting a police officer and one of sending a threatening message to Sussex Police.

Worthing Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday 20-year-old Rosie Ralph, of Middle Road, Shoreham, was ‘emotionally unstable’ and was found with sharp objects in various locations in Shoreham.

She had a disposable ladies’ razor in Dolphin Road on May 20, a carving knife in Buckingham Park on June 26 and a knife in Middle Road on July 17.

She assaulted a police constable in Shoreham on April 17 and further admitted assaulting two police constables on June 26.

Ralph was also charged with sending threatening text messages to Sussex Police between April 11 and 17.

These text messages were said to be sent to cause distress or anxiety to the person receiving them.

Ralph was subject to a conditional discharge for 12 months when committing one offence.

Toby Brothers, representing Ralph, said: “She has an unstable emotional personality disorder. These mental health episodes lead to self-harm.

“She is unable to control her hurt and, therefore, the outlet is either self-harm or to call the police until they take notice of her.

“Police have had to arrest her before, but now they understand her over the past year.”

Mr Brothers pointed out that the carving knife had remained inside her bag.

Ralph had been attending mental health group sessions for women but the court heard she found group sessions depressing. She was not getting the one-on-one treatment she needed for her specific problem.

Mr Brothers said she was doing her ‘level best’.

He added: “She has contacted the fire service for a volunteer position. She has five GCSEs and has tried to go to college but was teased by pupils and so cannot cope but she would like to go into the world of work.

“She is not suitable for custody and can’t be cured by custody.”

Mr Brothers praised Ralph for contacting the fire service by herself and attempting to find work.

Ralph was sentenced to a nine-month community order and nine-month supervision requirement, to run concurrently.

Her guilty plea was taken into consideration when her sentence was decided.

There was no order of compensation due to her financial situation and because there was no physical harm caused to the three police officers involved.

A £60 surcharge was imposed to be taken out of her benefits.