A MAN heavily under the influence of drugs took exception to being asked to calm down as children played nearby, a court heard.

James Clarence Marsey was sitting outside his caravan surrounded by tin foil, when a neighbouring caravan-dweller asked him to behave in the presence of the youngsters.

Durham Crown Court heard that Marsey told him to “mind his own business”, before throwing a knife into the ground.

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Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said he then took a 2ft-long machete and smashed furniture inside his own caravan.

Marsey emerged shouting he would kill everyone present, but he was disarmed by a teenage onlooker.

He was arrested, interviewed and bailed by police on condition that he did not contact the woman whose children were playing outside the caravan, during the incident at Thorntree Gill, near Castle Eden Dene, east Durham, on October 20.

But, Mr Newcombe said the day after his release from police custody, Marsey rang her asking where his dogs were, threatening to, “get someone from Hartlepool to come and kill you”.

He was re-arrested and said he just asked her about the dogs, claiming he did not make the threats.

But, at a previous hearing, 28-year-old Marsey, of Tweddle Crescent, Blackhall, east Durham, admitted making threats to kill, possessing a bladed article and breaching an animal ownership disqualification order.

The court heard he was found in possession of two horses, albeit apparently in good condition, contravening a five-year ban preventing him keeping animals.

It was imposed after he was convicted, in March 2012, for causing unnecessary suffering to a bay gelding.

Neil Bennett, mitigating, said Marsey apologised for his actions, but said the follow up remarks were “idle threats” made in frustration at not being able to trace his dogs.

Mr Bennett added that Marsey is taking strides to overcome his drug addiction.

Jailing him for a total of two years and six weeks, Judge Christopher Prince told Marsey: “You were very much under the influence of drugs that day, having, by your own admission, taken a considerable amount of valium.

“You lost control, causing damage and making threats with that weapon, before you were disarmed.”

The judge added that his behaviour was aggravated by his subsequent threats, “intended” to make the recipient fear they would be carried out.