A YOUNG man sent threatening messages to an embalmer who refused to train him, a court heard.

Darlington Magistrates’ Court was told today (Thursday, February 13) that 23-year-old James Cumiskey responded to an advert placed five years-ago by a funeral director offering training in embalming.

Cumiskey, of Grange Road, Darlington, travelled down to the funeral parlour in Northampton but after spending six hours with him, the owner was unnerved by his attitude.

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Prosecutor Blair Martin explained: “He found the defendant to be strange and to have an unhealthy interest in the dead.”

The pair had no further contact until September 28, 2013, when Cumiskey sent the man a text message asking if he remembered him.

Mr Martin said: “The defendant wished to speak to him; he said ‘I recently lost my mum and wanted to chat to you, to see you again and get some training’.

“The victim made reference to the fact that he wasn’t available.

“The defendant said ‘why lie to me?’”

Mr Martin told the court that over the course of the following three weeks the messages became more abusive, with Cumiskey telling the funeral director he was going to “destroy” his business.

The man reported the matter to the police and Cumiskey initially pleaded not guilty to harassment without violence.

A trial was set for March but after taking legal advice he changed his plea to guilty in January.

Michael Clarke, mitigating, said Cumiskey had a difficult upbringing and a number of mental health problems.

He said: “The general background is that he appears to have difficulty coming to terms with rejection.

“As soon as the injured party made it clear he didn’t want any contact with him he didn’t accept that and it has culminated in him sending increasingly abusive text messages to him.”

Mr Clarke added that Cumiskey had no intention of carrying out any of his threats and that given the distance between Darlington and Northampton, there was little likelihood that Cumiskey was in a position to cause the business any damage.

Magistrates agreed to act on the recommendations of a probation report and sentenced Cumiskey to a 12-month community order with 12-months supervision.

They also imposed a restraining order banning him from contacting the funeral director and told him to pay £50 compensation and a further £220 in court charges and costs.