Arrest warrant issued after James Killip fails to front court on axe charge

A magistrate has issued an arrest warrant for a Wollongong man found carrying a tomahawk in public just months after threatening to kill an ex-partner.

James Killip had been due to front Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday morning to face a charge of carrying an offensive implement in a public place, however had still not arrived by 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

Magistrate Mark Douglass said the circumstances of the fresh charge concerned him given the previous threats made.

“It seems very serious to me,” he said moments before convicting Killip of the charge.

He then agreed to the police prosecutors request that a warrant be issued for Killip’s arrest.

Court documents reveal Killip and his ex-partner were about to enter the Life Without Borders office in Wollongong on May 22 when they got into an argument over the woman having conversations with her neighbour.

Killip yelled and swore at the victim while entering the building then repeatedly hit his own head against a vending machine while waiting inside the foyer.

The woman left the location, followed by Killip, who tried to block her path.

When the woman expressed fear, Killip told her “if I wanted you dead I would have killed you a million times over”.

He then said “I will kill you and I will kill myself”.

The man was subsequently admitted to hospital for a mental health assessment but released the next day and an apprehended violence order put in place for two years.

The court heard just three months later police stopped Killip at Wollongong railway station after he exited a northbound train but bypassed the Opal scanner.

Officers said his eyes were bloodshot and he appeared to be under the influence of a drug.

When asked if he’d taken any drugs, Killip replied “I used to smoke pot but I own a cat now”.

Officers searched Killip’s bag, uncovering a small tomahawk.

“I use it for self defence,” he told police.

Magistrate Douglass was sympathetic to what he thought could be Killip’s poor mental health.

“Perhaps he’s a person struggling with a mental illness given the facts before the court, but nonetheless, it’s still a concerning matter,” he said.

The court heard the charge carries a maximum sentence of two years behind bars and/or a $5,500 fine.

Details of the extent of Killip’s criminal history were not read out in court.