POLICE found a vegetable knife in a man’s car boot after stopping him at the height of the pandemic.

Anthony Garraway, 32, was said to have put the knife in his car in order harm himself. He was suffering from depression after losing his job at the start of the coronavirus crisis.

A police officer stopped him near Brinkworth on April 10 – around three weeks into the first lockdown - suspecting he was in breach of the coronavirus regulations by being out of the house without a reasonable excuse.

Garraway had a screwdriver in the car’s central console and a four inch kitchen knife stored in a shoe in the car boot.

Prosecutor David Scutt told Swindon Crown Court on Wednesday morning the Oxford man had 19 convictions on his record for 54 offences. They included a conviction for possession of an offensive weapon, making him a second striker and at risk of a six month mandatory minimum sentence.

He had been recalled to a secure mental hospital by the Home Office, after being sentenced to a hospital order in 2017.

Defending, Robert Ross said his client was currently being cared for by doctors, who supported his discharge into the community. He had a council flat in Oxford that he could return to.

Describing Garraway, who appeared before the court on his 32nd birthday, as an intelligent man, Mr Ross said: “He knows the situation he is in and, frankly, at the moment the last thing he wants to do is make his situation any worse than it already is.”

The lawyer said the case was an unusual one and asked the judge to consider a conditional discharge.

Garraway, of Sandford Road, Littlemore, pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court to possession of a bladed article.

Judge Jason Taylor QC stopped short of giving Garraway a conditional discharge. Instead, he deferred sentence for six months – ordering that the man continue to take his medication, comply with mental health services and keep out of trouble.

The judge told Mr Ross: “If we come back in six months and he’s kept his whistle clean then a conditional discharge will very much be on the cards.”

The case was adjourned to May 26, 2021.