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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Barrow drunk threatened to burn down flat

A DRUNK and angry Barrow man who “lost it” with his allegedly noisy neighbour threatened to burn her and later held a knife to her partner’s face.

Gavin Hughes had drunk 12 cans of lager and some whisky when the incident unfolded near his flat at Millbank, Barrow.

Preston Crown Court heard he went on to hold a knife inches from the face of neighbour Rebecca Smith’s partner.

Hughes, 38, admitted having a bladed article in public and threatening behaviour. He was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for a year, with 12 months supervision.

Judge Jacqueline Beech said: “It could easily have caused harm, whether by you or by someone else who had disarmed you. That is the reason knife crime is treated so seriously.”

Ms Smith, who lived in the same flat block, bumped into Hughes on the evening of June 23 and he was said to have told her: “I’m going to set you on fire and burn your flat.”

Later on, she and her partner were walking outside when Hughes approached them and told her to stop banging about. Ms Kimberley Obrusik, prosecuting, said Hughes produced a small knife from a pocket, held it inches away from her partner’s face, and said: “You don’t know what you are dealing with.”

He told police he had taken the knife out for protection. Mr Richard Bennett, defending, said Hughes was sorry for what happened and didn’t know what came over him.

He had lived in the block for seven years without any problems. Mr Bennett said: “He claims an unacceptable amount of noise was made. He spoke to someone but without any effect.

“He was minding his own business watching TV when the noise started again and, to use his words, he lost it. He didn’t mean the words he said.

“It was a fleeting incident. As soon as there was any challenge to the possession of the knife, he put it away and retreated inside.”

The court heard Hughes knew he needed help for his drink problem and had volunteered himself to the Unity organisation in Barrow.

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