Woman who ‘branded a knife’ as students left Koh Down elementary school has been paroled

A woman who ‘branded a knife’ as students left an elementary school in County Down has been given a two-year suspended sentence.

Usra Baxaite, 45, of Church View in Holywood, admitted to the offense outside St. Patrick’s Elementary School at 3:00 pm on Tuesday, April 12 this year.

She appeared before Newtownards Magistrates Court on Wednesday for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to possessing a knife in a public place “without good cause or legal authority” near Church View in Holywood.

She also acknowledged the three-person attacks, which defense counsel said were “non-contact”.

During a previous bail petition, a PSNI officer said the Judicial Police had been instructed to report a woman at her home address who was “branding a knife” that was “approximately eight inches long.”

The officer said that St. Patrick’s Elementary School was “running out” at the time. “The woman was in pajamas and a bathrobe and was yelling for cars to stop knocking on doors near her house,” they said.

“They brandished a knife in front of five-year-old children.”

The officer said several parents asked the defendant to “put the knife away”, but the defendant said she “didn’t care”.

During the interrogation by the police, as the court had previously heard, the defendant “confessed to being at her front door and holding a knife in his hand.”

The defendant confessed to the police that there were children nearby.

The officer said Baxaite told police that “she had problems parking her parents outside her house when she was picking up and dropping off the kids.”

The court heard that the defendant said that the letters were written to the school and to the parents, “however they continued to do so.”

The officer said Baksayte said in an interview that she “just went crazy” and wanted to “scare”.

Defense counsel told the previous court that the defendant was from Lithuania.

He said there was no doubt that it was a “hard, serious case” but that she had no criminal record.

He added: “Her motivation, although distorted, is quite clear. She had many opportunities to attack someone if she wanted to, and she didn’t.”

District Judge Mark Hamill said at the initial bail hearing, “It’s all very disturbing.”

The defendant returned to court for sentencing, and the prosecutor stated that the defendant had “a large kitchen knife”.

According to the lawyer, Bakshaite “remained” at the door of her house during the incident.

The court heard that the defendant was still living in the rented premises, and the defense lawyer said that there were no more problems.

He said that Bakshaite spent some time in custody in connection with the case, and that the parking lot next to her house “stopped” after “someone intervened, be it the school or the police.”

The lawyer stated that Baksayte did not intend to cause harm, and there were no contacts with anyone.

The court heard that the defendant continued to receive “mental treatment”.

Judge Hamill said that reference was made to autism in the pre-sentencing opinion.

He said that when defendant was renting the property, “she may have noticed that there was a school nearby” and added: “Schools tend to be noisy places, especially during pick-up and drop-off.”

While granting a two-year conditional release, Judge Hamill said: “I am sympathetic and concerned. I sympathize with her mental state; I’m worried about the safety of these people at school. I’m going to try and balance the two. “

The judge told Baxita, “Get help for your mental health issues, but never again display a knife in public and certainly never make any disturbance outside this elementary school again.”

He said that if she offended again in the next two years, she would be returned for sentencing.