Grieving Belsize Park man wielded knife on street hours after death of mother

Allan McCann brandished the blade outside his flat in the Barnfield block in Upper Park Road. Pictur

Allan McCann brandished the blade outside his flat in the Barnfield block in Upper Park Road. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

A man who was almost Tasered as he brandished a large kitchen knife in public has walked free from court – after it emerged his mother had died hours earlier.

Allan McCann, 43, was wielding the blade when he strolled out of his flat in the Barnfield block in Upper Park Road, Belsize Park, at about 7pm on Sunday, July 14.

He only dropped the weapon after being chased by Taser-armed police, who drew their stun guns and warned him they would fire.

Officers later discovered that McCann was in a distressed state following the death of his mother.

He pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon in a public place at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.

As he was sentenced on Friday, prosecutor Ellis Williams said police were called by relatives who “seemed concerned about the defendant and said he may be in possession of a knife”.

Mr Williams said: “Police were outside when they heard somebody say ‘There’s Allan’. They looked up and saw the defendant with a large knife.

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“He started to walk towards officers, they feared for their safety and drew their Tasers.

“The officers gave chase and made it known that they had their Tasers trained on him.”

He pleaded with them not to fire before complying with demands to put his hands on his head.

McCann told police that he had left his flat with the knife after arguing with his brother, but that he did not threaten anyone.

After taking into account the death of McCann’s mother, District Judge John Perkins handed down a suspended prison sentence of four weeks and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge and costs totalling £165.

District Judge Perkins added: “Clearly the events of the day must have taken their toll on the defendant, but it doesn’t excuse his behaviour.

“Anyone brandishing a knife in public, particularly a knife of this kind, can expect that the court will be looking at an immediate sentence of imprisonment as a starting point.

“There are exceptional circumstances, it has been out of character, and I see you also care for your 17-year-old son and have been looking after him and your mum for some considerable time.

“It is because if these circumstances that I can suspend [the sentence].”

The incident happened just two weeks before an unrelated confrontation between a man with mental health problems and police in nearby Mansfield Road.

The man was shot three times with Taser guns after refusing to lay down two large knives in a confrontation on Monday, July 29.