JAILED: Man who brandished kitchen knives to threaten children in Fenland park
A MAN who threatened children with two six-inch kitchen knives during a terrifying ordeal in a Fenland park has been jailed for 16 months.
Children as young as six reported seeing Robert Fitzjohn, 32, engaging in sexual activity with his girlfriend, Katie Langridge, 22, in the playing fields near Southwell Close, March, on the afternoon of April 3 this year.
Cambridge Crown Court heard that when a concerned mother asked the pair to stop, Fitzjohn and his partner became enraged.
Langridge assaulted the distraught parent while Fitzjohn produced the weapons, forcing a crowd of neighbours and children to run for their homes.
Azza Brown, prosecuting, said: “Mr Fitzjohn was holding one kitchen knife in each hand. He was seen chasing a 14-year-old boy with the knives raised above his head.”
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Fitzjohn took his shirt off and began shouting abuse at the fleeing teenagers before producing another knife from inside his trousers, said Ms Brown.
“He shouted that he would come back and stab anyone that had a problem and that he would come back and petrol bomb their houses,” said Ms Brown.
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Both Fitzjohn and Langridge attemped to escape as the police helicopter was scrambled and officers rushed to the scene.
Langridge was found in minutes but Fitzjohn was not arrested until a week later, when police were handed information on his whereabouts.
Fitzjohn, of Abbeygate Court, March, admitted one charge of affray and two charges of possessing an offensive weapon.
The court heard that he had committed 81 previous offences including thefts and burglaries. He had also been found carrying knives in several locations across Fenland.
Abigail Pilkington, mitigating for Fitzjohn, said Langridge had been “in a state” as it was Mother’s Day and she was distressed after having a still born baby some time before the incident.
“It’s fair to say emotions were running high,” she said.
Ms Pilkington said drugs had blighted Fitzjohn’s life but since November he had been returning negative drugs tests. She said he had also made good progress on a gym instructor’s course.
“He tells me with some pride that he has managed to stay clear of drugs, perhaps for the longest period in his lifetime,” she said.
“Having had time to think about the incident, he accepts that it was a very foolish reaction indeed.”
Sentencing Fitzjohn, Judge Jonathan Haworth said: “It’s an episode you must be thoroughly ashamed of. You clearly caused considerable fear.
“I have to make it quite clear that those who carry knives and threaten people in public will go to prison.”
Fitzjohn was sentenced to 16 months for the affray but was told he would serve only half of that.
He was given four months for the two possession charges, with the sentences to run concurrently. He will also be on licence for eight months after his release from prison.
Judge Haworth issued an arrest warrant for Langridge, who did not attend court. The 22-year-old has already pleaded guilty to common assault.