A FORMER soldier lunged at his step-dad with a kitchen knife and deliberately scratched his sister’s car after calling round at their Maghull home.
Michael Ball had been suffering with post traumatic stress disorder since his training with the Army and he suffers from ‘survivors’ guilt’ “at losing close friends in battle”, said his barrister Frank Dillon.
His offending began after leaving the 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster regiment and at the time of his latest crimes he had a suspended prison sentence hanging over him for violence and criminal damage involving his ex-girlfriend’s new partner.
The same judge who imposed the eight month suspended sentence in January last year told 30-year-old Ball, “I left you in no doubt if you committed further offences that you should expect to go to prison.”
Judge Stuart Driver, QC, said he took into account that the 18 month suspension period had nearly finished and Ball had carried out the rehabilitation requirements and so only activated six months of the jail term.
But that is to run consecutively to the 12 months he imposed for the new offences that Ball admitted of criminal damage, possessing a bladed article and affray, making 18 months in total.
“It was a serious incident, you took a dangerous weapon to your parent’s home and lunged at your step-father with it.”
Derek Jones, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that it was accepted that Ball, of Brookside, Maghull, has had mental health issues which had led to family issues.
On May 11 this year he called round to see his mum who lives with his step-dad William Taylor in Waltho Avenue, Maghull and an argument ensued.
“He then told her he had split up with his girlfriend. She told him to leave the property which he did.”
He later rang claiming to have taken an overdose but his mum and Mr Taylor both took the view he was attention seeking and he was told not to call again and they stopped taking his calls.
“At 10.30 pm he went to their home with a kitchen knife and scratched the Vauxhall Corsa, belonging to his sister Charlotte Ball, parked on the driveway, down the side.
“He knocked on the door and Mr Taylor went to the door and saw through the glass that the defendant was there. He opened the door to him and the defendant then pulled from his pocket a kitchen knife which he then held at his side.
“Mr Taylor says the defendant was about one metre away and lunged towards him with the knife. Mr Taylor was able to slam the door shut on the defendant. Ball stayed around the house and went into the garden at one stage and shouted abuse at the family and Mr Taylor called the police,” said Mr Jones.
He left the scene but police arrested him at his home where he was aggressive and had to be sprayed with CS gas. When interviewed the next day he admitted he had gone round and had the knife with him to prepare food and accepted he scratched his sister’s car. He said he had drunk a quarter of Scotch and taken 18 tablets.
In an impact statement Mr Taylor spoke of his “sense of betrayal”, said Mr Jones.
Mr Dillon told the court that Ball’s mum said that overall the incident “made me feel very sad” and said he is “usually a good lad but he needs help, something is wrong.”
He said he has mental health issues and takes medication for epilepsy and he had taken too many which culminated in the offences as he had coupled it with “a far amount of alcohol.”
He had not realised that the combination would be “so disastrous.”
Mr Dillon explained that he had gone to Cyprus for his Army training 15 years ago but began suffering from PTSD “because of the intense and graphic nature of the training.”
When it was time to be deployed to Afghanistan he was instead repatriated home because of the imminent birth of his child. “He not only suffers from his experiences but also suffers from survivors’ guilty at losing close friends in battle.”
He added that Ball, who appeared in court via video link, “has expressed remorse and is very sorry for the way he behaved. He has expressed empathy for the members of his family who suffered at his hands.”