Man, 35, who threatened to stab Princess Anne, avoids jail
Man, 35, was found by royal protection officers in grounds of Princess Anne’s country home after he threatened to stab her in series of 999 calls, court hears
- James Ballinger made a series of 999 calls to police warning of his future plans
- He said he was going to Princess Anne’s estate in Gloucestershire to stab her
- Ballinger, 35, told police he believed Princess Ann was ‘controlling his mind’
- He was handed a 12-month community order and banned from Gatcombe Park
A 35-year-old man who repeatedly threatened to stab Princess Anne was found by Royal protection officers entering the grounds of her Gatcombe Park home in the Cotswolds, a court was told yesterday.
James Ballinger from Stroud, Gloucestershire had made a series of 999 calls to police on February 27 stating he was going to the Princess Royal’s Gloucestershire estate to stab her and ‘anybody else who was there,’ Cheltenham Magistrates were told.
He told the emergency call handler that Princess Anne was ‘controlling his mind by moving his satellites,’ said Cathy Thornton, prosecuting.
James Ballinger from Stroud, Gloucestershire had made a series of 999 calls to police on February 27 stating he was going to the Princess Royal’s Gloucestershire estate to stab her and ‘anybody else who was there’
Ballinger, 35, was arrested at Gatcombe Park, pictured, by royal protection officers, although he was unarmed. He told police that he had mental health issues and hoped his arrest would secure him the help he requires
Later that day, at 3.15pm, he was found at Gatcombe Park and detained by Royal Household protection officers, she said. He was unarmed.
On being detained, Ballinger told the officers he had mental issues and he hoped his arrest would get him the help he needs.
Because of the Covid-19 resctrictions on the courts, Ballinger’s case was adjourned on several occasions and he was on bail awaiting a July 17 appearance when he offended again earlier this week, said Ms Thornton.
On Wednesday June 17 at 11.45am he again called 999, saying he was having thoughts about stabbing a member of the Royal Family, specifically Princess Anne, the prosecutor said.
He again stated that Princess Anne was ‘moving his satellites, which was affecting his well-being’.
He was arrested by police at his home and held in custody to appeared before the court yesterday by video link from police custody.
Lee Mott, defending, said: ‘He does not remember making the original call to the police in February.
‘I was with him when he was being interviewed by the officers. When the 999 call was played back to him he agreed that the voice was his and that he had said some horrible things.
‘He said he was sorry that he had threatened Princess Anne, but he explained that she was controlling his satellites which told him what to do..’
Mr Mott further explained that Ballinger was on medication and the defendant had hoped that the case could have been dealt with much earlier so that his mental health issues could be addressed.
Ballinger pleaded guilty to the original charge of making a malicious communication on February 27 by making numerous phone calls to the police control room which ‘conveyed a threat and caused distress to the call handler.’
He also admitted a similar charge of making a malicious communication to the control room on June 17 that was ‘grossly offensive and menacing in character.’
Andrew Hill, chairman of the magistrates, sentenced Ballinger to a 12-month community order which includes attending a programme to address his alcohol and mental health problems as well as a six day rehabilitation activity requirement. He told Ballinger he hoped he would get the help he needs.
A six-month exclusion order banning Ballinger from entering Gatcombe Park was also imposed by the court.
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