A WOMAN has been jailed for 16 months after threatening her ex-partner with a knife inside a shop as staff and customers hid in terror.

CCTV of the horrifying incident, which took place in the Leeswood branch of Co-op, showed Laura Nicholas thrusting a kitchen knife in the direction of Paul Gerard Loose as the two fought each other in the busy shop, forcing two female workers to barricade themselves in a back room.

Prosecuting barrister, Sion ap Mihangel, told Mold Crown Court how on Sunday April 21, a bare-chested Loose ran into the shop on Queen Street, closely followed by Nicholas, who was shouting "you've ruined my life" and "I'm going to stab you".

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Laura Nicholas is caught on CCTV brandishing the blade inside Co-op in Leeswood. Screenshot image taken from video footage provided by Crown Prosecution Service

As some customers fled the shop, Nicholas, of Queen Street, Leeswood, began wielding a knife, forcing Loose to grapple with her and begin throwing items from the surrounding store at her and staff, including a disposable barbecue, a bottle of Prosecco and various tins.

At one stage the video showed Loose leave the store but then smashing his way back in through the door, before pushing Nicholas to the floor where she received an injury to her face causing her to bleed.

A customer managed to disarm Nicholas, 26, and put the knife on the counter, but after leaving the shop she later returned, kicking a door panel through and picking up the knife again before officers arrived.

Loose, 28, of Tan Y Coed, Caia Park, was later charged with three offences, admitting criminal damage to the glass pane of a door at the Co-op, assaulting Nicholas and breaching a Domestic Violence Protection Order.

Appearing at North East Wales Magistrates' Court, two days after the incident, he was fined £50 for criminal damage and ordered to pay £100 each in compensation to two Co-op members of staff.

He was also made the subject of a community order for a year, the terms of which he later broke, leading to him being resentenced and jailed for 20 weeks.

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Laura Nicholas

The court heard a victim impact from one of the shop's two female staff members who were in the shop at the time in which she said: "I honestly felt that I could have died." She said she had been forced to take time off work and added that staff in the shop were now equipped with panic alarms.

"She (Nicholas) was like a caged animal and I didn't know what she was capable of," she continued. "I don't think anyone should have to witness their behaviour. It was shocking and frightening."

A statement read to court from a psychiatrist said Nicholas had not taken her usual dose of medication that day and had spent the afternoon drinking and taking cocaine.

Defending barrister Andrew Green, said his client recognised this was a serious incident and that it had happened during a "chaotic period" in her life when she was abusing alcohol and drugs.

He added that Nicholas had not been in trouble since the incident and was now "sober, polite and respectful" due to living with her mother who did not allow many of her previous associates to visit.

She had later apologised directly to one of the staff members and showed genuine remorse.

Sentencing, Judge Rhys Rowlands, described then incident as "a very frightening spectacle" in which Nicholas was "completely out of control" and added that he was surprised both Loose and Nicholas, who pleaded guilty to charges of threatening behaviour and possession of a knife in a public place, had not been charged with affray.

"People need to know that if they take knives out onto the street they will go to prison," he added, before handing Nicholas a 16 month prison term and imposing a restraining order preventing her entering the Co-op store for three years.