A MAN armed with a dagger was chased through Newport city centre in a dramatic pursuit that saw a member of the public help police catch him.

Benjamin Simpson, 23, was trying to escape the long arm of the law last month while carrying the eight-inch knife.

Steven Donoghue, prosecuting, said police were tipped off about the defendant and he was confronted in Market Street on July 6.

South Wales Argus:

The dagger that was being carried. Picture: CPS Wales

He told Cardiff Crown Court: “An officer told him he believed he was in possession of an offensive weapon.


“The defendant said, ‘I am carrying something on me as I was a bit scared and it’s for my own protection’.

“He had a man bag and pulled out a small dagger that was eight inches long with a four-inch blade.

“As he was being handcuffed, he managed to wriggle free and ran off. He was warned, ‘You are only making things worse for yourself’.

“He set off on a determined run across the centre of Newport.

“At Clarence Place, an officer needed to stop a civilian motorist and asked him to give him a lift to keep up with him.

“He caught up with the defendant and subdued him after using an incapacitant spray.”

After he was taken to the police station, Simpson told officers he was homeless and could be paranoid around people.

He insisted that he used the dagger for “gardening activities”.

Simpson, of no fixed abode, Newport, pleaded guilty to the possession of a bladed article in public.

Mr Donoghue said the defendant had a similar conviction for carrying a knife last October and was jailed for 16 weeks.

The court was told father-of-one Simpson also has previous convictions for burglary and public disorder.

Kevin Seal, mitigating, said of his client’s previous knife crime offence: “The defendant said he was attacked by a gang of Scousers, his words, at a Shell garage.

“He had armed himself with a knife and hammer.”

Referring to the latest incident last month, Mr Seal added: “There is no suggestion the dagger was brandished or used.”

Judge Michael Fitton QC told Simpson: “You have come to know the criminal justice system very well.”

He jailed him for seven months and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge upon his release from prison.