A TEENAGER was told to prepare himself for a custodial sentence after admitting sending threatening messages to police in the USA.

The warning was given by a judge to defendant Connor John Robert Ash after he pleaded guilty to three counts of sending an electronic communication with intent to cause distress which he knew to be false and which was known or believed to have been false.

He also admitted a further count of making a threat to kill, relating to a named US detective and his family.

Ash, now 18, but 16 at the time he sent the messages, also asked for two further offences of making hoax bomb threats to be taken into consideration.

Durham Crown Court was told the first threatening email, sent to Maryland Police Department, on or around February 20, 2017, inferred a male armed with an assault rifle was coming to a police station to kill officers unless he was given $15,000 and a helicopter to escape.

In a further message, sent to York Poquoson Sheriff’s Office, in Virginia, on September 3, 2017, he claimed to have been armed with an assault rifle and had taken four hostages who would be killed if he was not given $15,000.

The other threatening message, sent to the Stanford Police Department, in California, on October 17, 2017, again stated he was armed with an assault rifle and would kill four hostages if he was not paid $20,000.

Christopher Knox, mitigating, said Ash made admissions in interview, when he was only 16.

“He’s now 18 and bitterly remorseful.

“A good deal of life has passed since then and he has, of his own volition, desisted from this sort of activity.”

He is now said to be training as a plumber.

Judge Christopher Prince agreed to adjourn for pre-sentence and psychiatric reports on the defendant.

Bailing Ash, of Hawthorn Terrace, Stanley, until the sentencing hearing on December 15, the judge told him: “You must expect to receive a custodial sentence when you return to court, so put your affairs in order in anticipation of such a sentence.”