A judge said a woman who lived and worked at a pub must have felt understandable terror when a man who threatened to “come for her”, broke into the premises at night.

Durham Crown Court heard that to the relief of the intended victim, the police quickly responded to her emergency call and reached the premises in time to arrest defendant Lewis Walker before he had a chance to carry out his threat.

Despite his lack of previous convictions, Walker was jailed after admitting offences of burglary with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and criminal damage.

But the court heard that he did carry out “unnecessary damage” to the premises before his arrest.

(Image: Durham Constabulary/Google Street Maps)

The 27-year-old defendant, of The Greenway, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to both charges at an earlier hearing at the court and he was bailed, on condition not to contact the woman at the pub, pending the sentence hearing.

Jess Butterell, prosecuting, said both offences took place at The High Crown pub, in Front Street, Chester-le-Street, on Monday, April 15 and into the early hours of Tuesday, April 16.

The court heard there was an immediate background to the offences with the defendant having sent abusive messages and made threats to “come for” the woman at the pub.

Walker was said to have damaged an external wooden door and TV set within the pub, as well as a window to gain entry.

Police were called by the woman in the wake of the threats and officers reached the scene in time to detain Walker before he was able to carry out his threat.

(Image: The Northern Echo)

Imposing a 12-month sentence for the burglary, with a three-month concurrent sentence for the criminal damage, Judge Jo Kidd told Walker: “Following the sending of numerous aggressive, abusive and threatening messages to the complainant, you attended at her home and place of work and caused damage by smashing a window.

“You threatened to come for her and you did, but she contacted police.

“Despite that, you returned in the early hours and broke into that property and sent further threats along the lines of: ‘I’ll destroy you. Watch, I’ll get upstairs, you little rotten c***’.

“In her witness statement, she described the terror at what you might have done if you had gained entry to her room and she credited the police for attending so quickly.

“We don’t know what you would have done had you got to the flat.

“But you threw items around and caused totally unnecessary damage within the pub.

“You had no emotional control whatsoever and, understandably, she felt the terror she did.

“It seems to me, having considered the facts, whatever a pre-sentence report might have said, I’m clear it is so serious that it passes the custodial threshold.

“I can’t draw back from the imposition of immediate custody in this case, the offences are simply too serious.

“I do, however, reflect your lack of previous convictions.”

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She told Walker that had the case gone to a trial the sentence for the burglary would have been 16 months, but she reduced it to a straight 12 months to reflect his guilty pleas at the earlier hearing.

The three-month sentence for the criminal damage offence will be served alongside the year for the burglary, of which the judge told Walker he will serve half, before being released on licence.

He must also pay a statutory £187 court surcharge upon his release from custody.