A thug who tried to take a knife into a nightclub was spared prison – despite skipping his trial to go to his aunt's funeral.
Carl Clarke attempted to enter Brooklyn Mixer in Seel Street with a blade in his jacket, but was searched by door staff.
When the weapon was spotted, he left and ditched it in a car park, then returned and was let in, only to be arrested by police.
The 26-year-old denied possessing a bladed article and was due to stand trial last December, but instead went on the run.
Clarke wasn't arrested until this month, but having spent just one week on remand in custody, will now be set free.
Liverpool Crown Court heard he tried to enter the club with two men and two women at around 1.20am, on January 12, 2019.
Frank Dillon, prosecuting, said the duty manager was told by a colleague Clarke had a knife, so opened his jacket to look.
He saw the handle of a knife with the blade in a black case, but Clarke took a step back and closed his jacket to hide it.
Mr Dillon said Clarke was asked why he had it and replied something to the effect of: "I don't like people in town – I've had trouble in town before."
Clarke walked down Seel Street towards The Peacock bar and was seen to enter a car park momentarily, then reappear.
He returned, said he no longer had the knife on him and when a search proved this was the case, he was allowed in.
Mr Dillon said the manager walked to the car park with a worker from The Peacock and found a knife under a brick behind a wall, "the exact spot where he lost sight of Mr Clarke", and was satisfied this was the same blade.
He returned to Brooklyn Mixer where he met police who arrested Clarke, during which they filmed his response on body cam.
Clarke told officers he had the knife for "protection", wasn't going to use it, and actually put the blade down a drain.
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He said it was a "tiny" knife, about two and a half inches long, and wasn't the same knife that the manager had found.
At his trial, Clarke was set to deny possessing a bladed article on the grounds his knife was shorter than the minimum required for the offence.
This month prosecutors accepted his guilty plea to the alternative charge of possessing an offensive weapon, which covers shorter knives, and breach of bail.
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Mr Dillon said the Crown didn't in fact accept Clarke's claims about the blade, but didn't ask the judge to determine this issue, because the "real gravamen" of the offence was trying to enter licensed premises with a knife.
Clarke, of Beechtree Road, Wavertree, has four convictions for three offences, including affray and breach of bail in 2015, when he was jailed for 13 months.
That was for taking part in an attack which saw a man stabbed in Size? trainer shop in Bold Street on Christmas Eve 2013.
Terrified customers watched Carl, his brother Terence Clarke, and Sean Cleaver punch Devere Ogungboro, before he was stabbed twice in the chest.
Mr Ogungboro suffered a collapsed lung, but refused to make a complaint, and prosecutors were unable to say who stabbed him.
Clarke, who failed to attend his original sentencing for that attack, also has two convictions for possessing cannabis.
Michael Davies, defending, said Clarke had kept out of trouble for six years and maintained his knife was "a small item on his key ring he had pretty much forgotten about".
He said the knife wasn't brandished or used, he hadn't intended to use it, and while he disposed of the blade, he put it down a drain not so he could retrieve it but to "get rid of it".
Mr Davies said Clarke became very close to his aunt after his mum died and she had supported and looked after him.
He said: "When she died and her funeral clashed with the trial, he attended the funeral, but he was deeply upset by that."
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Mr Davies said Clarke was on drink and drugs at the time of the incident but said he "hadn't touched either since" and was now living with his dad.
He urged the judge to follow the recommendation in a pre-sentence report and spare him jail.
Judge Stuart Driver, QC, said: "The aggravating features are the circumstances in which you had the knife, attempting to get into a club in the early hours of the morning in Liverpool city centre, knowing that this would be premises with lots of young people in, many of whom would have been drinking and that's clearly a volatile situation.
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"The second aggravating feature is your record, not a long record, but in the past you have served imprisonment for violence.
"In mitigation there has been a substantial delay, though you contributed to that yourself by being at large."
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Judge Driver handed Clarke eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months, a 10-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, Thinking Skills Programme and 70 hours of unpaid work.
He warned: "It's highly likely if I see you again, you will go into custody for eight months."