Top British motorcyclist Danny Kent has been given a suspended prison sentence after being caught with a knife in a Tetbury car park during a scuffle with a 63-year-old man.
Kent, 25, Britain’s first Grand Prix solo motorcycle world champion since Barry Sheen in 1977, pleaded guilty on Wednesday at Cheltenham Magistrates Court to possessing a knife in a public place.
He received a four-month jail sentence suspended for 12 months, and was told to pay prosecution costs of £85. The magistrates ordered the destruction of the kitchen knife, which had a six-inch blade.
Prosecuting, Peter Ashby said: “A 63-year-old man out walking his dog across West Street car park in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, on March 7 this year, heard a commotion in a nearby block of flats. There was a lot of shouting and banging. Then the noise stopped and suddenly two young men ran past him at speed. One of the men, the defendant’s brother, confronted the 63-year-old and there was a scuffle and the older man took the young man to the ground. He pinned him down and then the other man, who was the defendant, came over and pushed the older man off.”
Mr Ashby went on: “The witness then saw a knife on the ground which had not been there before. He picked it up and went home and then informed the police.”
Police later arrested Kent, of Webb road, Tetbury, who told officers that he and his brother were going around to collect a debt but he would not have used the knife.
Defending, Howard Ogden said: “My client came across his brother on the floor with the older man pinning him down so he though that his brother was a victim of an assault and pushed him off.
“Yes, he had the knife in his pocket but it was not for any improper purpose – he uses it to open boxes in connection with his work.”
Mr Ogden said his client appreciates the court’s concern at people carrying knives, especially in the current climate of knife crime.
The solicitor urged a suspended sentence and asked the court not to impose a curfew or any other restriction on Kent’s liberty that would prevent him travelling to motorcycle competitions.
Presiding magistrate Mark Hunt said: “This knife could so easily have been used during the scuffle. It is simply not acceptable to carry a knife in a public place – people could so easily have been hurt or worse.”