Man wielded knife and hurled abuse in restaurant

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A KNIFE-WIELDING father who hurled racist abuse at the staff from an Indian restaurant has escaped prison.

Daniel Burchett, of Elsted Close, appeared before the town’s magistrates on Tuesday morning (May 28) to be sentenced for the offence which took place on the evening of April 21.

He had previously pleaded guilty to causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress, possession of a knife and criminal damage.

The court heard 23-year-old Burchett’s partner and two-year-old child live above the Indian Paradise restaurant in Seaside and he went down to speak to the staff about the music the restaurant plays.

He was told there was no music because the staff were packing up but he started to become abusive and was racist towards the staff.

His partner and a friend of the restaurant tried to intervene to calm the situation down but angry Burchett, who had been drinking alcohol that night, went back up to his partner’s home and returned with a kitchen knife.

Prosecutor Mark Kateley said Burchett was only a foot away from the female waitress and was shouting at her with the knife in his hand.

He then went outside and started hitting the window of the restaurant with the kitchen knife in a stabbing motion.

Dan Harrison, defending, said, “This is a very unpleasant incident and he accepts that.

“He is thoroughly ashamed of himself and is struggling to find answers about his behaviour.”

Mr Harrison said there had been noise from the restaurant and the music could be heard in his young child’s bedroom at night. Burchett and his partner had previously spoken to the restaurant about turning the music down.

Mr Harrison added, “He has made it very, very clear this doesn’t excuse this incident and he is thoroughly appalled by what he has done.

“He says he is not a racist and has no history of being a racist.”

A letter of apology written by Burchett to the restaurant was handed up to the magistrates. In the letter, the defendant told the staff at the Indian Paradise that he was ‘disgusted with himself’.

Mr Harrison said he had moved in with his mother after the offence and was hoping to move away from the restaurant with his partner as soon as possible.

Magistrates said custody was the only option due to the seriousness of the offences.

They imposed a 20-week sentence for the knife offence and a 16-week sentence for the racist abuse. They will run concurrently and will be suspended for 18 months.

To avoid going to prison Burchett must complete his Action for Change programme, work with the probation service for nine months and undertake 100 hours’ unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £100 to the restaurant for the criminal damage and £25 towards the court costs.