Scream mask knifeman caused terror at Barnstaple play park
- Credit: Contributed
A knifeman who wore a Scream mask left children and families terrified when he walked into a Barnstaple play park and started stabbing a bench.
A neighbour alerted police and followed Kieran Wale after seeing him walking towards Rock Park in Barnstaple which includes a busy children’s play area.
It was packed with families on a sunny Saturday afternoon in April and an eight-year-old boy was seen sobbing in terror after seeing Wale with the mask and knife.
He sat down on a wooden bench 50 metres from the play area and stabbed it so violently that the five-inch serrated blade broke in half.
He had been drinking cider before going to the park and was said to have reacted badly to new anti-psychotic medication which he had been using for a few days.
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Wale, aged 32, of Gloster Road, Barnstaple, admitted possession of a knife in a public place and two counts of criminal damage.
He was jailed for 12 months, suspended for two years, curfewed for three months and ordered to do 10 days of rehabilitation activities by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court.
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He told him: “Quite clearly you caused distress and concern to members of the public who were in the park lawfully enjoying themselves.”
The judge praised the public-spirited behaviour of neighbour Luke Sears, who saw Wale approaching the park, alerted the police, and followed him to try to make sure he did not harm children.
Miss Kelly Scrivener, prosecuting, said Mr Sears was leaving his home at 3.45 pm on Saturday April 10 this year when his wife alerted him to a man wearing a horror mask and carrying a knife.
He followed him to Rock Park, where he saw an eight-year-old boy crying in terror and then saw Wale stabbing the wooden park bench.
Wale was abusive when arrested and kicked and spat when put inside a police van, necessitating a £100 cleaning operation.
Mr Herc Ashworth, defending, said the offence arose out of Wale’s history of mental illness and diagnoses of bi-polar disorder, borderline personality disorder and PTSD.
References from two support workers both say he acted out of character and he has now changed his medication. He plans to start work on a building site soon.