A troubled woman who hid blades in her underwear is to be spared a jail sentence after a Judge heard that she only had them to harm herself.

India Jackson-Mack was caught with knives or Stanley knife blades on 13 different occasions including two when she was homeless and living rough in Exmouth.

She was also caught with a knife hidden up her sleeve after threatening to harm herself at Plymouth railway station. The convictions would normally mean an immediate six month jail sentence under tough anti-knife crime laws.

All but one of the offences happened in a 17 day spell during which she was homeless and not been given the medication she needed to tackle her depression and psychosis.

Jackson-Mack, aged 29, whose last address was a friend’s house in Honiton, admitted multiple offences of possessing a bladed article and her case was adjourned for six weeks to allow an assessment at a hostel in Selly Oak, Birmingham.

Judge Stephen Climie told her he hoped to follow the recommendations of a probation report that proposed a community order with rehabilitation activity days when she returns to Exeter Crown Court.

He described her case as ‘unusual and perhaps exceptional’ and said it would be unjust to apply a mandatory jail sentence which had been introduced principally to stop young men carrying knives.

He said: “Nobody could be anything other than sympathetic to the background and history which you have had for some time.”

Mr Lewis Aldous, prosecuting, said Jackson-Mack has a history of carrying blades which she uses to self-harm and had been caught with a Stanley knife blade on September 19 last year.

There had been a long gap until the next offence which happened on July 1 this year where she was found with a similar blade in her underwear after taking an overdose at Exmouth Pavilion.

She was taken to hospital but later released and arrested again in Exmouth on July 10, when she was carrying three blades. The other offences happened at Exeter and Plymouth the last arrest was on July 17. She has been remanded in custody ever since.

Mr Chris Cuddihee, defending, said there was a background of mental illness behind all the offences. Most of the offences happened in a very short time when Jackson-Mack was street homeless.

She had been living in supported accommodation in Exeter but was evicted after a fire at her flat which was caused by an attempt at self-harm.

She was housed for a short time at the Great Western Hotel in Exeter but evicted again and then sofa-surfed with a friend in Honiton before being asked to leave.

The disruption to her lifestyle meant she did not receive the regular depot medication she needed, leading to a deterioration of her mental state. Her medication has been changed since she has been in custody and she is much treated for both psychosis and depression and is much healthier.