A MAN sent increasingly threatening messages to his ex-partner and then turned up outside her flat block carrying a samurai sword, a court heard.

Ian Jeffery Peek sent her a message seeking to come around to see her, but then began asking if she had male company at her flat and warned he would, “murder any man who steps outside.”

Durham Crown Court, sitting at Newcastle, was told he then pressed the buzzer to her flat and threatened to burn her car and her home, sending a photo of the rear of the property to let her know he was close by.

Police summoned by the fearful woman found the ornamental sword leaning against a hedge across the street from the flats, in Dixon Road, Newton Aycliffe, at 10.30pm on Sunday March 15.

Phillip Morley, prosecuting, said Peek, was seen nearby, next to the communal flat doors.

Initially Peek refused to give his name, but then did identify himself and was arrested.

Mr Morley said the victim had feared Peek would harm her that evening, as his sister had sent her a message warning that, “he was coming down with a sword”.

He gave “no comment” when questioned, but, at court, Peek, 32, of Lyon Road, Newton Aycliffe, admitted possessing an offensive weapon and harassment.

The court heard he has a previous single offence of possessing an offensive weapon in public, a wooden baseball bat.

Michele Turner, mitigating, said both incidents arose amid mental health crises suffered by Peek, who is awaiting a change to more suitable medication.

She said his response was in part triggered by his brother getting some drink in that day in the hope it would relax Peek and help him to sleep.

“It appears it was entirely the wrong thing to do.”

She urged Judge Ray Singh to suspend any prison sentence.

But the judge told her he was expected to pass an immediate prison sentence by law, as this was the defendant’s second offensive weapon conviction.

He jailed him for ten months, and issued a five-year restraining order preventing Peek from contacting or approaching his former partner.