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Holsworthy dressage groom jailed for holding mother at knifepoint

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 07, 2014

By Ted Davenport

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A stable hand has been jailed after he subjected his family to a terrifying knifepoint ordeal.

Samuel Firman was already on a tagged curfew at his home in Holsworthy when he armed himself during a furious argument with his mother Carol.

He held a bread knife to her neck, lunged at his sister’s boyfriend when he tried to disarm him, and then stopped traffic outside by taking the six-inch blade into the street.

Firman was on bail after taking part in a series of runaway thefts in hotels and restaurants around Bideford which left the owners hundreds of pounds out of pocket.

He also helped a friend raid a butcher’s shop in the centre of Holsworthy where three charity tins were taken after the front window was smashed, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Dressage groom Firman, formerly of Chapel Street, Holsworthy, admitted affray, having a bladed article in the street, burglary at Perkins Butchers, and bilking bills totalling £340 at the Durrant House and Riverside Hotels, the Paramount Chinese restaurant and the Pizza Hut.

He was jailed for two years and banned from contacting his mother directly or returning to his home when she is there.

Judge Phillip Wassall told him: ”There was a serious argument with your long suffering mother and you went way beyond anything you have done before and escalated the incident by taking a knife.

“You held it against her throat and said you would slit her throat and create a hostage situation. She was terrified. The contact with the knife was so close you actually cut her.

“When someone is so out of control the situation has the potential to develop into a disaster. It did not stop there. You went outside and were waving the knife in the street.”

Gareth Evans, prosecuting, said Firman’s offending started in February when he and five friends went around Bideford running up bills for food and drink and walked out laughing but without paying.

His next offence was in the centre of Holsworthy when he and a friend stole three charity boxes and he was on tagged bail for this offence when he attacked his mother.

Rupert Taylor, defending, said the argument started with a disagreement about visiting Firman’s brother, who was an inmate at Dartmoor Prison and he accepted it got out of hand.

He said Firman was a talented horseman who has worked as a dressage groom and who hopes to work with horses again when he is released.

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