A noise row boiled over when a man threatened to kill his next-door neighbour and then caused a trail of damage to his house.

Durham Crown Court heard that the victim genuinely feared for his life and had to flee from Andrew Robson, who chased after him carrying a screwdriver.

When he was unable to catch his neighbour, Robson then returned to his house, where the victim’s partner was still present, and went on to smash doors and windows.

Martin Towers, prosecuting, said the offences go back to October 18, 2020, with the background being the defendant’s view that too much noise was coming from the victim’s boiler, at the neighbouring house in Chilton, County Durham.

Read more: Sex offender refused to reveal new address to Durham Police

Mr Towers said there had been a previous complaint and on the day of the incident police community support officers visited both addresses.

They left, “satisfied” there was no issue requiring police intervention relating to the noise made by the boiler.

“But the defendant saw things otherwise and not long after the police departed, at 6pm, he could be heard shouting: 'I’m going to kill him'."

Mr Towers said according to Robson’s neighbour and his partner, the defendant had made the threat more than once.

Robson was described as having “stormed around” to the next-door house, repeating the threat and using the screwdriver to smash his way through the front window, before walking into the house.

He initially entered through the door and smashed internal doors, repeating his threats.

The victim was so fearful that Robson would carry out the threat that he ran from the house and jumped over a number of garden fences to make good his escape.

Read more: Barnard Castle man filmed children on beaches and in parks

Unable to catch him, Robson returned to the man’s house and smashed other windows.

Mr Towers said although Robson was arrested, he was unable to be interviewed for a number of months as he was sectioned and spent 28 days in a mental health institution following the incident.

Reading his impact statement, the victim told the court: “I’m of the belief that he (Robson) would have caused me serious harm.

“I do believe he would have killed me.

“I heard him scream he would kill me and it left me absolutely petrified for my life.”

The victim said that approximately £11,000-worth of damage was caused, which he paid to have repairs carried out and although he had insurance, he was left to meet the excess.

He said the incident caused him “massive upheaval” in his life, having a knock-on effect on his job, which he left, and for months had difficulty sleeping.

But he said when the defendant left the mental health hospital and returned to his home, it was, “to my complete surprise”.

He eventually sold his house to move away from Chilton, but he added that he found the huge delay in the case coming to court, "annoying and upsetting.”

Robson’s eventual offer to plead guilty to affray and making a threat to kill were accepted by the prosecution.

Ian West, representing 42-year-old Robson, now of Thornton Street, Darlington, told the court he was of previous good character.

Mr West said neither party now lives near each other and he questioned the need for a restraining order.

He said the defendant “does get it”, that he caused his neighbours great fear.

Mr West said on the defendant’s own admission, he went to his neighbours’ home, “with the intention of frightening the life out of them”.

But he said his client was suffering with mental health issues, and, “he accepts he reacted badly to the situation that night and lost his temper.”

Mr West added that what happened took less than five minutes almost three years ago, before it has now been resolved in court, which has been the defendant’s only  ever involvement with the criminal justice system.

Judge Jo Kidd told Robson: “It seems to me you had allowed yourself to become obsessed with the amount of noise you felt was coming from your neighbour’s property.

“Your assessment wasn’t shared by the police officers who attended that night.

“You weren’t reacting responsibly.

“You threatened you would injure your neighbour and that’s what you then went on to try to do.”

Judge Kidd said the victim feared Robson would fulfil his threat to kill him, and then the defendant “gratuitously” left a trail of damage on his “rampage”.

Read next:

Police found 1,663 cannabis plants in ex-Easington club

Agitated killer attacked officer in HMP Frankland, Durham

Judge describes as 'worrying' Crook man's easy loss of temper

Get the latest news, sport and entertainment delivered straight to your device for just £3 for three montghs. Click here.

“It’s clear you were extremely emotionally over-wrought in committing the offences you did that night."

Passing a 27-month prison sentence, she also made Robson subject of a five-year restraining order prohibiting him from approaching or contacting his victims.

Judge Kidd also apologised to the victim for the delay in the case being resolved, which she said was because of a “perfect storm” of the Covid pandemic causing a huge backlog in cases passing through the court.