A DRUG user made repeated demands with threats to his own mother and a family friend to maintain his habit.

Daniel Kirk threatened violence to his mother’s partner to “persuade” her to give him money for drugs.

Durham Crown Court heard that between September 2020 and February this year his mother calculated that she gave him £4,775.

But it culminated with him contacting her 21 times, including some threatening messages, on the day of the birthday of another family member, on February 18.

Kirk claimed he would post false claims online that her partner was a paedophile.

Jonathan Walker, prosecuting, said police were informed, but Kirk’s demands continued, with a call threatening to “rip out” her nails and set her home on fire.

Mr Walker said Kirk continued to put derogatory posts online until his arrest after being found hiding in a garden shed in Murton, in possession of three phone devices, on March 25.

The court heard that In an earlier incident, last August, Kirk and his partner turned up at the home of a woman in Murton who they had known for a number of years.

Mr Walker said they were abusive and Kirk struck her, but his demands for money were refused.

He even went through her drawers and showed her what appeared to be a gun in his waistband.

Kirk, 38, of East Coronation Street, Murton, was before the court to be sentenced having pleaded guilty to three counts of blackmail, possessing an offensive weapon in public, possessing cocaine, theft and affray, some of those admissions being made on the scheduled day of trial, last month.

The court was told his “extensive” record, going back to November 1998, features offences of burglary, shop theft, plus possessing class C drugs with intent to supply.

Chris Knox, in mitigation, told the court: “It has to be accepted the latest offences were all in relation to drugs.

“The reality is that his record is drug-related.

“He’s been in the grip of a drug addiction for some time, clearly destroying the relationship with his family.

“He lives a very limited existence and is a man more fragile than is suggested.”

Mr Knox added that no-one was injured in all offences.

Judge Ray Singh told Kirk: “You made the life of your mother an absolute misery.

“Firstly, using emotional blackmail to force your mother to give you money, fleecing her of almost £5,000, no doubt used by you for drugs.

“But, then, you took it to a different level. It was mean, nasty and serious offending to your mother.”

He imposed a total prison sentence of two years and made Kirk subject of ten year restraining orders, prohibiting him contacting or approaching the blackmail victims, each for ten years.