Knifeman's Robert DeNiro prank could spell jail
BANTER centred around a movie quote led to an incident in which a Skegness man had an eight-inch knife in public.
Skegness magistrates heard Martin Cullen, 51, of Edinburgh Avenue, approached a table of diners with a pizza quoting 'you wanna 'pizza' me – a pun centred around The Taxi Driver film starring Robert DeNiro.
Magistrates felt the case was so serious, they ordered him to be sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court on a date to be fixed.
Cullen, who could face a prison term, had pleaded guilty to being in possession of a knife in a public place and for a public order offence on August 9 this year at Grand Central nightclub.
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Paul Wood prosecuting said the incident was witnessed by another diner, a Mr Howlett, who was on the next table to a group of four men who Cullen approached.
He said: "Mr Howlett saw a male come over to their table and put a pizza on the table.
"Mr Howett heard Mr Cullen keep going on about the pizza and said 'I will put lettuce on it for you then.'
"The men appeared to be agitated and told Mr Cullen to go away but he persisted that they may want to eat this pizza."
The court heard Cullen eventually left the table but then came back and appeared to put his arm around the neck of one of the men.
Mr Wood said the witness saw the reaction of the three other men – one grabbed hold of Cullen's hands where he appeared to be holding a knife.
The court heard the knife was dropped near a balcony and someone shouted to say there were children nearby.
In police interview, Cullen admitted being guilty but said it was a joke with men he knew.
Dave Clapham, in mitigation, explained to the court: "It is the scene where Robert De Niro is talking to himself in the mirror. 'You looking at me – you want a piece-a-me." Mr Clapham said there had been no complaint from any of the four men on the table.
He said: "What was bantered as a stage prop, was the train of thought running through Mr Cullen's head, played out and reenacted in terms of the movie.
"He fully accepted it was inappropriate. He knew it was stupid and silly."
He said there was no evidence to suggest the knife had been placed up to one of the diner's throats.
The case was adjourned until sentencing at Lincoln Crown Court.