A YOUNG offender threatened to kill his ex-partner and their son in phone calls made from prison.

Wesley Johnson, of Great Howard Street, Liverpool, was a prisoner at HMYOI Deerbolt, near Barnard Castle, when he made the threats between January 22 and February 5.

After pleading guilty to a charge of malicious communications at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court yesterday, the court was told how the relationship was abusive and his partner moved into a women's refuge after fearing for her safety.

Lesley Burgess, mitigating, said Johnson called his ex from Deerbolt and wanted to re-kindle the relationship but when she refused, he threatened her. He also made threats against another prisoner who he suspected she had began dating.

In his police interview, Ms Burgess said Johnson said he was "joking" but was aggrieved because he suspected his ex had been taking their son to visit the other prisoner.

Stephen Hamill, mitigating, said his client had tried to take his own life after his partner ended their relationship but was trying to turn his life around after being released last month.

District judge Helen Cousins gave Johnson a stand-along curfew from 8pm until 7am and ordered him to pay £85 in costs and an £85 victim surcharge. She also granted a two-year restraining order for the victim.