A FORMER Oswestry grandmother found herself in handcuffs after arguing with a neighbour while brandishing a knife, a court heard.

Deborah McGowan, of St Johns Court in Wrexham, appeared at Wrexham Magistrates' Court on Wednesday for sentence.

The 57-year-old had previously been convicted of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour, possessing a knife and assaulting a police officer.

Molly Rumsey, prosecuting, told the court that at about 1pm on March 24, police were called to St John's Court after it was reported the defendant had hold of a knife while arguing with her neighbour, Thomas Johnson.

A witness got involved to stop the situation escalating in a communal area of the Wales and West Housing Association premises for vulnerable adults.

McGowan was said to be brandishing the blade in her victim's face and shouting.

She later retreated to her property, where stood on the balcony.

Officers arrived to arrest her, but she became aggressive and abusive - telling them "get the f*** off me" and kicking out.


Stephen Edwards, defending, asked his client be given full credit as she entered her guilty pleas to the matters at the first opportunity.

He said: "She has anxiety and depression, she experiences low moods and suicidal ideation, and she self harms.

"This is a lady who is going through a very difficult period in her life and is recognised as having significant mental health problems.

"She is one of six children, left school at 16 and lived in Oswestry.

"She had two sons and has two granddaughters - and worked for a long time as a residential care assistant.

"[The defendant] moved to St John's Court in Wrexham last October. The Wales and West Housing Association tenancies are reserved for vulnerable adults.

"People in this block of flats have the same type of problems and that's why, from time to time, there are problems between neighbours."

Mr Edwards said on the day of the offence, his client had been in "a very bad state."

She claimed not to have deliberately kicked one of the police officers, but said it happened as she struggled when cuffed.

Kimberly Caruana, Chair of the Magistrates, said the offences had created "an extremely volatile and serious incident."

"It would have no doubt caused great distress for everyone involved," she said.

McGowan received a three month custodial sentence for the possession of the blade - but it was suspended for 12 months.

She was ordered to undertake 20 days of rehabilitation activity and pay compensation of £100 to the police officer.

The court also fined her £120 for the abusive words or behaviour, and ordered her to pay a victim surcharge of £128, as well as £85 costs.