TB sufferer criminal begs not to be sent to jail because he’s scared of catching coronavirus – but the judge locks him up anyway


A drug addict who set fire to his jumper while in police custody has been jailed – despite claiming he was vulnerable to catching coronavirus in prison.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Christopher Kirnon suffers from tuberculosis, a bacterial infection of the lung, and would probably be on a list of patients shielded from Covid-19.

However, after being convicted of theft, arson and drugs offences, and admitting being in possession of a knife, the 45-year-old was jailed for a total of 14-months.

Prosecutor Adam Watkins told the court: “At 1am on May 26, 2018 he was seen with two other men next to a scooter which had ignition damage.

“Police approached and the defendant was holding a lock knife. He was arrested for that.”

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Kirnon, of McKinley Street, Tunstall, was also carrying a ‘black man bag’ which contained a hunting knife and drugs, including crack cocaine, amphetamine, MDPHP and cannabis.

The charge of theft related to an offence committed last October – when Kirnon stole items including an Armani watch and a telephone from a family member who had allowed him to spend the night.

Then in January, Kirnon had been arrested by police and taken to the Northern Area Custody Suite at Etruria.

Mr Watkins said: “The defendant used a cigarette lighter to set fire to his jumper.

“Staff attended and extinguished the fire. Kirnon and three other prisoners were evacuated.

“Damage was caused to the door and floor of his cell.”

Kirnon had then been arrested on suspicion of shoplifting on February 20 and officers had found heroin hidden in his shoe when they searched his home. The charge of shoplifting was discontinued.

Jason Holt, mitigating, told the court Kirnon felt ‘ashamed and remorseful’ about the theft from a family member, who had since ‘forgiven him’.

Mr Holt said: “It was an offence committed in the throes of addiction.

“Of the arson, he tells me he had been waiting for an hour-and-a-half to get attention and rather stupidly decided to do what he did.

“The only person in any danger was him.

“He has been in custody since February 21. He has had three months to rid himself of drug addiction and he is on a methadone programme.”

Mr Holt added: “He has been diagnosed with TB.

“In the pandemic, this is something that affects people’s lungs. He is likely to have been someone told to shield had he been at home.

“The Covid-19 emergency is something courts can consider and he tells me he is scared to leave his cell.”

However, jailing Kirnon for a total of 14 months in prison, Judge David Fletcher told him: “There’s no way I am suspending your sentence.

“I do not take the view there’s a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.”





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