A WHEELCHAIR-user threatened theatre staff who refused to reinstate her tickets for a Jason Donovan concert because she wanted to warn him about an imposter.

Linda Smith told an employee at Durham’s Gala Theatre over the phone she would “smash the place up” before arriving at the box office some time later.

The Northern Echo:

THREATS: Linda Smith pictured at the Bishop Auckland Suffrage march earlier this year

Speaking at a trial in Newton Aycliffe last month, the venue’s former theatre services manager said the 57-year-old called after receiving a letter informing her her tickets for the show in May had been cancelled.

The court heard police advised the theatre to cancel the tickets belonging to Smith, of Cheshire Place, in Bishop Auckland, following “certain incidents”.

The theatre employee told the court: “She became increasingly upset and started telling me a story about how she intended to warn Jason Donovan that people are using his, in her words, ‘good name’, to go into hospitals in County Durham to abuse patients and that was what happened to her.”

The witness told the court due to the seats being accessible by wheelchair they were near the front and Smith “would have had quite a clear shot of Jason Donovan”.

She added: “She became angry and said on the phone she would come to the venue and would smash up anything that was in her way or anyone that was in her way.”

A short time later on April 16 Smith arrived and staff reemphasised she would not get her tickets.

The witness said: “There’s a stand of leaflets and magazines next to the box office in the foyer and she picked up a pile and threw them across the venue while shouting ‘pigs’ at us.”

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She was found guilty in her absence of one count of threatening to damage or destroy property.

It followed a trial in her absence earlier that day when she was found guilty of one count of harassment without violence.

The court heard on two occasions in April and May, Smith shouted “you violating little s***” in public at the office manager from Bishop Gate Medical Centre – where the defendant was deregistered earlier in the year as a result of her behaviour in the surgery and towards staff.

Smith was also found guilty at trial the previous week of six further charges dating between June 2017 and May 2018.

These included sending offensive public electronic communications and causing a nuisance to an NHS staff member at Bishop Auckland Hospital.

They also included displaying writing with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress, plus three counts of persistently using a public communication network to cause annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety.

She appeared at Teesside Magistrates' Court on Wednesday where she pleaded guilty to three further charges - common assault of an emergency worker, harassment without violence and using threatening words and behaviour.

She received a six-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, and was made subject to a restraining order with ten restrictions including not entering or loitering outside the Gala Theatre.