A MAN who racially abused his neighbour and threatened him with a 10-inch knife has been jailed for 'truly disgraceful' behaviour.

Steven Thompson hurled the vile abuse at his victim after they got into a dispute over noise and parking at the block of flats where they both lived.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 49-year-old raised a number of issues with the man before the row descended into threats of violence.

Ben Thomas, prosecuting, said the defendant sent a message to the victim saying 'I'm a trained killer and I will use it if I have to' before sending a racial slur to the victim.

The man confronted Thompson about his messages and the defendant told him he would 'break his teeth' before sending him a message saying I'm going to hurt you' and 'I'm English, you're not, now go home'.

The Northern Echo: Steven ThompsonSteven Thompson

Mr Thomas said the messages upset the victim and he reported it to the police in February and in the following days he heard Thompson shouting he was a 'Paki b******'.

In a victim impact statement, the man said the abuse had left upset and scared resulting in him being too afraid to make any noise in case it led to another confrontation.

In April, Thompson became aggressive towards the victim and brandished a Ghurkha knife at him while racially abusing him again, Mr Thomas added.

The court heard how Thompson had previous conviction for violence and neighbour disputes, including threatening one person with an axe and threatening to throw toxic liquid over another person.

Thompson, formerly of Crocus Court, Colburn, near Catterick, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated harassment and threatening behaviour following the events of February and April.

Duncan McReddie, in mitigation, said his client had moved back to the Rotherham area to diffuse the situation and had taken steps to address his alcohol problem.

Judge Jonathan Carroll sentenced him to two years in custody. "This was truly disgraceful conduct by you against your neighbour, motivated to a very large degree to a racial antipathy. You were living in a block of flats and there always has to be a degree of give and take between neighbours living in such close proximity," he said.

"Whatever the difference of opinion that existed between you and the victim, one thing for certain, is the colour of his skin was irrelevant – it has no part in any difference of opinion between civilised neighbours."

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