A knifeman who told a neighbour he was planning a ‘massacre’ before sparking panic at Gatwick Airport has been spared jail.
Adam Russell, 32, turned up brandishing two huge kitchen knives having told the neighbour he was ‘going to kill them all’. Airport staff feared a terror attack and pressed a panic button, as armed police arrived within two minutes to Taser and arrest him.
Russell, who suffers with schizophrenia, was in the midst of a relapse when he boarded a bus to the London airport in the early hours of June 3, 2019, Lewes Crown Court heard, as it handed him a suspended sentence on Tuesday afternoon.
His actions caused nearly 200 people to be evacuated from the South Terminal after he headed towards the international departure lounge with the weapons.
Russell, from Crawley, West Sussex, pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed article and affray and has apologised for his behaviour.
Prosecutor Rachel Beckett said Russell was seen by one of his neighbours about 1.30am while they both waited for a bus.
She told the court: ‘The defendant said he was going for a massacre at Gatwick. He later said he was going to kill them all.’
Russell arrived at the airport and was seen walking into the arrivals hall, carrying a knife in each hand.
One witness said the defendant was ‘walking with purpose in his stride’ and had ‘an emotionless glazed over look in his face’.
Another said Russell looked ‘like he was on a mission’.
As onlookers realised the danger, they began shouting and running, with security staff ushering people away.
He was heard shouting ‘come on then’ as he continued to hold the knives.
Ms Beckett added: ‘(A) security officer said she was so scared when she saw the defendant she was scared he was about to start stabbing everyone.
‘She thought “this is it, this is a terrorist attack”.’
Staff pressed the panic button at 1.54am and armed police arrived in the area at 1.55am.
Officers armed with a carbine and handguns found the defendant and shouted at him to show them his hands.
They formed the view that he was ‘aggressive and an immediate danger’ and Tasered him in the chest.
After he was arrested, he told police that he is a schizophrenic.
The court heard that a week before the Gatwick incident he had told ambulance staff that voices in his head were telling him to blow up the airport.
Defence barrister Fiona Clegg said: ‘What is very clear is that in the proceeding weeks to the incident that his mental health was deteriorating significantly.
‘Mr Russell now wishes me to indicate that he is now able to see – whilst he