POLICE negotiators were called in and Bodmin’s main street had to be closed off after a man climbed scaffolding, held a knife to his throat and threatened to jump, a court has been told.
Bodmin magistrates heard that Matthew Morcom remained on the scaffolding and a nearby flat roof for four and a half hours, from late on Saturday night into the early hours of Sunday.
Morcom, aged 36, of Higher Bore Street, Bodmin, admitted possessing a blade in a public place when he appeared before the court in custody on Monday.
He was conditionally discharged for 12 months after the bench was told he had mental health problems.
Scott Horner, for the prosecution, said that at around 8pm on Saturday Morcom’s neighbour became alarmed after seeing him acting strangely, apparently talking to a wall and rambling about doing “something naughty tonight”.
He said he would “do a crime” and murder two people, saying he planned to get on a train to Truro and murder ‘Vince’.
Later the neighbour saw Morcom sitting on some steps, and when a group of males walked past, words were exchanged.
At 8.35pm police officers attended after receiving reports that Morcom had climbed the scaffolding in Fore Street.
“Morcom refused to come down and threatened to kill himself,” said Mr Horner.
“Negotiators were dispatched from Barnstaple and Falmouth and there had to be a full road closure put in place, with access denied to all areas.”
Morcom shouted down at the police, asking them to shoot him, before climbing on to a flat roof and holding a knife to his throat.
Eventually he threw the knife away and at around 1.45am came down off the roof of his own accord.
He told police that he had put the knife in his sock as he wanted to kill himself.
The court was told that Morcom had previous convictions, the last being in 2005 when he was conditionally discharged for arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
Pat Haynes, for the defence, said Morcom had not waved the knife nor threatened anyone with it, and had put it down when told to by the police. He rejected the allegation that he had made threats to murder anyone.
Referring to Morcom’s psychiatric difficulties, Mr Haynes told the court it was unfortunate he had found himself in court. “He needs mental health help rather than a court penalty,” he told the magistrates.
The court also heard from mental health nurse Jim Beresford who said that Morcom, who was on medication, had previously been subject to monitoring by mental health services in the community, but that the extent of this would now be reviewed.
He had drunk cider and vodka and smoked some cannabis before the incident.
Chairman of the bench Peter Hosegood told Morcom: “On the basis of all the evidence before us we are imposing a conditional discharge.”
Morcom was ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge and an order was made that the knife, if found, should be forfeited and destroyed.