Peterborough man who pulled knife out in prison fight avoids return trip to jail

HMP Peterborough
HMP Peterborough
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A Peterborough man who was jailed after stabbing a man in the city has avoided a further spell behind bars after he was caught with a knife in prison.

Ismael Coulibaly (19) was at HMP Peterborough in February when he got involved in a confrontation with another inmate.

During the fight, he pulled out a blade to defend himself.

Coulibaly, of Manton, Bretton, appeared at Peterborough Crown Court today (Friday) where he was given a suspended sentence by Recorder Joseph Boothby.

He had pleaded guilty to possession of a knife in a prison at a previous hearing.

Recorder Boothby said he had been persuaded to suspend the prison sentence because of Coulibaly's age, his remorse - and to allow him to access rehabilitation services in the community for the first time.

Francis Gaskin, prosecuting, told the court the incident in HMP Peterborough started on Valentines' Day this year.

He said: "Coulibaly was in the hub area of the prison, when there was an initial disagreement with another inmate through some bars.

"The defendant threw a punch through the bars , as he said he thought he was about to be attacked.

"Other prisoners then approached - and the defendant thought they were not approaching in a friendly manner.

"He pulled out the home made weapon. He was disarmed by another inmate who punched him in the face."

Mr Gaskin described the weapon as a home made, sharpened metal stick, that had no blade.

The court heard Coulibaly had said 'everyone carries knives in prison' and he carried one 'for his own protection.' He said he had not made the knife, but found it in his cell.

Coulibaly said the confrontation had started after some of his possessions went missing.

The court heard at the time Coulibaly was serving a sentence for possession of a knife in a public place and infliction grievous bodily harm, after he and his brother got involved in a fight in Bretton with another man over a £10 cannabis debt.

The victim suffered a small puncture wound to his back.

Coulibaly was released from his jail sentence at the beginning of March.

Nenad Spasojevic, defending, said the matter would have been dealt with by the prison's internal discipline system - but by the time Coulibaly had received legal advice over the matter, he had been released.

Mr Spasojevic said: "I would urge that any sentence could be suspended.

"He gave a guilty plea at the first opportunity, and made full admissions to police.

"He is still only 19 - he had just turned 19 at the time of the offence.

"He has had no previous rehabilitative sentences in the past - he has only had a 'go to jail card.'

"The probation service have identified a problem with anger management - and a programme can address this.

"He is now in full time employment.

"This is a man who has now come to his senses."

Recorder Boothby sentenced him to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered him to carry out the anger management course.

He said: "In an ideal world you would have been dealt with in prison during the sentence you were serving.

"You now have a job, and have expressed contrition and some regret.

"For those exceptional reasons, and because you are a young man, I won't send you to prison.

"We will have to see if you have learnt your lesson."

The blade was ordered to be destroyed, and Coulibaly was ordered to pay a £140 victim surcharge.