A YOB who hurled foul-mouthed abuse at a benefits official and threatened to petrol-bomb her home has walked free from court.

Paul Thompson's four-letter tirade left staff at Richmondshire District Council terrified, Teesside Crown Court heard today (Monday, December 10).

The 23-year-old later apologised and claimed he "lost it" because his girlfriend had recently been diagnosed with a brain tumour.

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His lawyer, James Fenney, said: "He was very upset. His frustration boiled over. He lost his cool."

The court heard how Thompson visited the council office in Dundas Street, Richmond, with his partner to discuss housing benefit.

He called a member of staff a f***ing idiot and a f***ing c*** and screamed he would petrol-bomb her house.

When the shocked official walked away, Thompson kicked a door and yelled further abuse.

Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said he left after shouting: "I'll burn this f*****g building down."

His outburst on August 30 was just three months after he was given a suspended sentence for street violence.

The court heard that he tried to stab an ex-partner's friend and bit a chunk out of his face, leaving  his victim needing skin grafts.

Mr Fenney said: "This is a man best supervised in the community."

Thompson, of Castle Hill, Richmond, admitted threatening to destroy property and using threatening behaviour.

Judge Peter Armstrong imposed a three-month suspended sentence with supervision and 100 hours of unpaid community work.

He also ordered Thompson to go on a "thinking skills" course, and told him: "You are at real risk of having to serve imprisonment."

The judge added: "What you said was appalling and she must have even genuinely concerned that you meant what you said.

"There was a trigger for this - your girlfriend's condition - and that would have been upsetting for anyone."

The court heard that Thompson is on a 'high risk' register and is banned from the council offices for 18 months.