Hayling Island man who threatened to stab door staff outside Portsmouth pub warned by judge
A ‘TROUBLED’ man who threatened to stab a member of pub door staff and start a fight with another individual was given another ‘last chance’ by a judge to curb his ways.
Drunk Scott Rapley dodged jail after inexplicably going on the attack outside the Duke of Devonshire pub on Albert Road, Southsea, forcing innocent people to defend themselves.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard how the 23-year-old Hayling Island defendant was seen storming over to a man on September 9 last year at closing time before there was an exchange – with menacing Rapley refusing to back off.
‘The man told the defendant to “get away” but (Rapley) persisted and was then punched in the face,’ prosecutor Janice Brennan told the court.
‘The defendant approached the man again and (Rapley) was punched again before leaving.
‘The defendant then tried to gain entry to the pub after believing the man who punched him had gone inside.’
When Rapley was refused entry, he said to a member of door staff: ‘If you don’t let me in I will stab you.’
Ms Brennan said: ‘(The member of door staff) and witnesses perceived it to be a threat especially when the defendant moved his hand towards his back pocket.’
Rapley was then ‘pushed over’ onto the floor by the member of security as he sought to protect himself.
During police interview, Rapley apologised and offered to pay compensation.
He pleaded guilty to using threatening words and behaviour.
The offence meant Rapley was in breach of a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years for affray handed down to him in October 2019.
‘There was a house party at the defendant’s home that got out of control. Police attended and asked people to leave,’ Ms Brennan said.
‘Then for some reason the defendant picked up a knife and put it above his head and told everyone to get out.
‘It looked like he was about to use the knife as he moved towards an officer before he was disabled by a taser.’
It left Rapley facing the prospect of jail if his suspended sentence was activated.
The court heard how Rapley, of Elm Grove, had started his offending before the turn of his 14th birthday, with him going on to record a wide range of crimes including arson, assaults, theft, knife offences and more.
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Gareth Burrows, defending, said Rapley had a ‘very troubled childhood’ and had mental health issues that had led to him being sectioned in the past.
Judge William Ashworth, who spared Rapley jail in 2018 after deciding not to activate a suspended sentence that was breached twice for criminal damage, told the defendant to give alcohol the boot.
He said: ‘You are using alcohol as a crutch and as long as you use it you will not grow up.
‘When you drink your decision-making process is affected and you end up picking a fight with someone...who knows why.
‘Mr Burrows says you are on your last chance but you have been in the last chance saloon for years now.’
But the judge, using his discretionary powers, said it would be ‘unjust’ to activate the sentence and imprison Rapley after he had made ‘some effort’ to comply with his previous order.
He also cited the early guilty plea, the ‘huge struggles’ Rapley has and his young age.
Instead of jail, Rapley was told to complete 60 hours of unpaid work and attend an alcohol treatment program for six months. He must also fulfil 20 rehabilitation days and pay £200 compensation to his victim.
‘At the end of the day no-one can take the problems off you,’ the judge added. ‘You’ve got to make better choices.’