Woman who wanted to ‘slit throat’ of security guard given community sentence

The Co-op store where the incident took place
The Co-op store where the incident took place
Piers Goodwin

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A WOMAN who said she wanted to ‘slit the throat’ of a supermarket security guard has been given a community order.

Rachel Harris, 31 of no fixed address, was given an 18-month community sentence at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday.

As she appeared on-screen via a video link from Bronzefield Prison in Ashford, the court heard Harris had made multiple threats to staff at the Co-operative Food store at Isambard Brunel Road in Portsmouth.

The first, on July 25, came when she threatened to stab a shopkeeper with a piece of glass she picked up from a bottle bank, after she was followed by security on suspicion of shoplifting.

After being taken back to St James Hospital in Southsea – where Harris was a mental health patient at the time – she returned to the shop days later, telling staff she wanted to ‘hurt someone and get revenge’.

She was then arrested, after she told a security guard who pinned her down that she wanted to ‘slit his throat’.

Harris later pleaded guilty to the crime at East Hampshire Magistrates Court.

Imposing an 18-month community order – with an obligation to complete rehabilitation activities – Judge Stephen Climie told Harris: ‘I know you understand how serious this offence is and I can see you regret what you did.

‘This could justify an immediate prison sentence, but I am satisfied a more constructive solution is a community order for 18 months.’

On top of the sentence, Mr Climie also granted a three-year restraining order between the Co-operative Store and the defendant.

As he listed its conditions, the court heard Harris must not go into the store, go within 100 metres of its security guard, or use, threaten or encourage any form of violence against them.

He said: ‘If you were to breach that restraining order or you saw the security guard and tried to attack him, that’s a criminal offence in itself.’

After she was handed her sentence, Harris said: ‘I am not a violent person. It was the tablets I was on. I regret this ever happening.’

As the court discussed possible accommodation for the defendant, it heard that Harris told police she had a fiancé she could live with in Waterlooville.