Curfew for ‘traumatised’ former soldier who breached order

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

A one-time Wigan serviceman with post-traumatic stress disorder who committed a burglary has admitted failing to comply with a court order.

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court heard that Christopher Knowles was given the 12-month community order in June for committing a break-in.

But the 33-year-old failed to attend appointments on both July 3 and August 16; neither did he make any contact with his supervising officer to offer explainations about the absences, the hearing was told.A probation officer told the court that Knowles, of Mitchell Street, Ince, had since kept up with his appointments with the service, as well as a veterans’ hub which he had been advised to attend for his own good.

Defending, Ged Frazer said that Knowles was “all over the place” mentally and had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder since serving in the army from the ages of 16 to 25.

He said the defendant had not realised that there was a problem, but he started drinking excessively, using drugs and a relationship ended.

Mr Frazer informed magistrates that Knowles had now re-engaged with local services and was receiving counselling.

John Mason, chairman of the bench, told Knowles: “It is unfortunate that you appear here for breaching the order.

“You have successfully completed the curfew requirement and it is to your credit that you have started to re-engage.

“We have respect for the fact that you have served in the armed forces and we are aware that members of the armed forces do suffer traumatic experiences.

“Many of us will have friends who have also served abroad and suffered in a similar way.

“However, that doesn’t detract from the offence of burglary, which is a serious offence and for which you much accept you are being punished.”

As punishment, Knowles was given a two-week curfew which means that he must not go out of his house between the hours of 7pm and 7am.