Defendant told witnesses he’d ‘torch’ their homes if they gave evidence

Newcastle Combined Court. Copyright Google Images.
Newcastle Combined Court. Copyright Google Images.

A man left families in fear when he threatened to “torch” their homes in revenge for being witnesses in a court case.

Paul Routledge, 30, was cleared by magistrates of causing damage to windows during an incident in Sunderland.

He threatened to get them all, said ‘your windows will go in’ and ‘you will get torched’

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw

Newcastle Crown Court heard during a later chance meeting with prosecution witnesses in his case, the 30-year-old branded them grasses and warned they would be “torched”.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court: “He threatened to get them all, said ‘your windows will go in’ and ‘you will get torched’.”

The court heard the victims were left “fearful for the safety of themselves and their families” after the chance confrontation in March.

Mr Recorder Mark McKone sentenced Routledge, of Blyton Avenue, Ryhope, to 13 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation requirements and lifelong ban from contacting his victims again.

The judge said: “This was a quite disgraceful incident.”

Alec Burns, defending, said Routledge pleaded guilty to threatening to commit criminal damage, despite the witnesses making retraction statements stating they no longer wanted to give evidence against him in court.

Mr Burns added; “It was verbal threats to commit damage. The original offence was causing criminal damage, damaging windows, of which he was acquitted.

“He didn’t commit that offence, but they thought he had and there were reasons for them to think so. He accepts he responded inappropriately.”

The court heard he was on a suspended sentence for throwing an ornament through his ex-girlfriend’s window at the time.