A MAN who breached a restraining order by sending threatening messages to a funeral director has escaped jail after writing a pleading letter to magistrates.

James Cumiskey urged magistrates at Newton Aycliffe to grant him one final chance after he sent text messages to the man threatening to destroy him and his Northampton business.

Appearing via video link to Durham Prison, the 23-year-old told magistrates: “I have really thought about life and where I want to be in the future and prison is simply not for me.”

The court heard Cumiskey, of Corporation Road, Darlington, sent six threatening text messages to the funeral director on April 10, putting him in breach a restraining order imposed on February 13.

John Garside, prosecuting, said Cumiskey had threatened to travel to Northampton and kick his head in.

One message said: “I am going to f****** come for you tonight.

“Just wait until I get to Northampton. You better hope Darlington police find me before I find you.”

At an earlier hearing, magistrates in Darlington heard Cumiskey had responded to an advert placed five years ago by the funeral director offering training in embalming.

However after spending six hours with him, he was unnerved by Cumiskey, who was described as being strange and ‘having an unhealthy interest in the dead'.

The pair had no further contact until September last year when, over the course of three weeks, Cumiskey began sending increasingly abusive text messages.

In mitigation yesterday (Friday, April 25) Michael Clarke said the defendant had not intended to travel to Northampton to carry out the threats and had shown remorse.

In a letter to magistrates, Cumiskey said: “I want to become the nice young man that I know I am and become a good member of the public.”

He also said he wanted to enrol at college to become a renewable energy engineer.

Magistrates gave Cumiskey an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, with supervision, after he admitted breaching the restraining order.

He was also ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, the funeral director said he was disappointed with the sentence.

He said: “Some of the stuff he sent through was unbelievable. At the end of the day I have got a business to run, I haven’t got time for this rubbish.”