A MAN who threatened staff in a Virgin Media shop with a knife because he was paranoid and thought people were out to get him has been sent to prison today.
Tobias Maylott, 21, had been reading papers about his child being taken into care when he went out to Commercial Road armed with a 17cm serrated bread knife.
Maylott saw children in the busy shopping street and was ‘overwhelmed’, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.
He was today jailed for 27 months after the three-hour stand-off in the shop in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, on October 31 last year.
CCTV showed Maylott in the confined shop waving the knife in the store.
Armed police were called after Maylott, who had been looking ‘agitated’, went inside the shop.
The court heard he threatened two people with the 17cm knife and threw an alcohol gel bottle at shopper Rhys Lewis.
Terrified staff member Lewis Coles had to barricade himself inside a toilet as Maylott tried to get in.
Maylott eventually holed up in the loft after slashing a computer screen in the store and threatening the staff.
Sentencing judge Roger Hetherington said Maylott was paranoid after reading the papers and left the house with a knife.
He said: ‘You then went into the store after a short while raising the knife, waving it about aggressively threatening.’
He added: ‘The two customers in the shop and most of the staff members who had been in the rear managed to get out but you then forced the rear staff door and threatened a member of staff.
‘You then threatened another member of staff.’
He added: ‘You forced him to take sanctuary in the female toilet.’
Armed police, Hampshire police’s force support unit and a negotiator were called and the stand-off ended after three hours.
Martyn Booth, prosecuting, said in his interview Maylott said he was paranoid.
Mr Booth said: ‘He explained he was smoking too much weed and he was going mental.
‘He believed that people were out to kill him.’
He added: ‘He said that on that day he was paranoid and thought people were out to kill him so he left the house with a kitchen knife.
‘He said he was overwhelmed with panic.
‘He selected a small store he told everyone to leave he just needed space then but couldn’t get it.’
Mr Booth told of the moment shopper Rhys Lewis, who was in the store with his wife, came eye-to-eye with Maylott inside the store.
He said: ‘Maylott wasn’t at this stage brandishing the knife.
‘Mr Lewis realised that although things hadn’t escalated by now they were in danger of doing so.
‘He wasn’t so much scared but he was concerned about his wife.
‘He looked the male in the eye and told him “you have to leave”.
‘He didn’t reply and started walking further into the shop.’
As Mr Lewis shouted at his wife to leave Maylott started waving the knife, the court heard.
‘At this stage the defendant started waving the knife about in a fast, manically, and aggressive manner.’
Staff and customers fled the shop as he went further in.
CCTV footage played in court showed Maylott, of no fixed address, brandishing the 17cm blade at an unsuspecting staff member who was having lunch upstairs.
On Monday, Maylott pleaded guilty to affray, threatening people with a knife and common assault.
Robert Forrest, for Maylott, said a previous hearing had been adjourned for a psychiatric report.
The judge added: ‘There’s a history of substances misuse.’
He added Maylott is emotionally unstable and has dis-social personality disorder, although there is no diagnosis.
At the time of the incident a police spokesman said a man in his 40s had been injured after an alcohol gel bottle was thrown at him.
The court heard Maylott had previously thrown tiles and slates from a roof of a home in Esslemont Road, Southsea, in 2014.
He was given a suspended sentence for that offence.
Robert Forrest, defending, said: ‘He went out not intending to hurt someone but ended up causing so much terror but immaturity played its part.’
He added Maylott was described by his mother as a ‘bomb waiting to go off’.
Maylott was jailed for 20 months for the affray, 20 months concurrent for making threats with a knife and three months concurrent for the common assault.
He also received seven months consecutive for breaching the suspended order for the previous affray and property damage.