Man attacked office of South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck with garden ornament after asking for a 'safehouse'

A man who attacked the office of South Shields Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck with a garden ornament when he went for help with his housing problems has been put behind bars.

Dylan Thompson went to Emma Lewell-Buck's constituency office on November 16 and demanded a "safehouse" as he was staying on the streets.

Newcastle Crown Court heard staff explained they could not find him a bed for the night but could contact the council on his behalf.

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In response, the 34-year-old repeatedly spat at a plastic partition and hit a window with a garden ornament.

Dylan Thompson.

Prosecutor Rachel Glover told the court Thompson had initially appeared "vulnerable" but his behaviour quickly changed when staff explained they couldnot find him accommodation.

Miss Glover said: "He started to shout and swear and threatened to go to the papers.

"He refused to calm down and stop being abusive.

"As he was leaving he spat at a plastic protective screen two to three times.

"As he left, he had hold of a garden ornament and hit the window, once, then walked off."

The court heard staff pulled the office shutters down and contacted the police, who found him nearby, carrying a small amount of cannabis.

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The MP's principal secretary Anne said she felt "disappointed" that she couldn't help Thompson and said: "I pride myself in helping people.

"The aggression and abuse made me feel frightened.

"After he left I suffered chest pains which caused me to worry there was a problem with my heart, caused by anxiety."

And the MP’s office manager said he felt "unsettled" and concerned that Thompson might return.

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He added: "In the current climate we have to be vigilant.

"We have to be extremely vigilant now."

The court heard Thompson was on bail for an attack on a Costa worker, who he bit and headbutted, after he caught him stealing coffee from the shop inDarlington at the time he targeted the office.

Thompson, of Anderson Street, South Shields, admitted assault and theft in relation to the shoplifting offence.

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He pleaded guilty to a public order offence, attempted criminal damage and possession of cannabis in relation to the MP's office.

Robin Turton, defending, said Thompson has mental health issues, which he self-medicated with six litres of cider per day.

Mr Turton told the court Thompson had become a target at his home in Anderson Street in the town and felt unsafe.

Thompson claimed he had had his windows put out and been repeatedly burgled.

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Mr Turton said: "That is why he attended and lost his rag the way he did."

He added: "People working for the MP should not have to put up with that.

"They are doing their best in difficult circumstances to try and help people."

Mr Turton said Thompson had a "chaotic and transient life".

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Mr Recorder Geoffrey Pritchard sentenced Thompson to a total of 22 weeks behind bars.

The judge told him: "You went to those offices to seek assistance from members of the MP's staff, particularly in relation to your housing situation.

"It is clear they did their best to help you but you worried the staff and matters escalated.

"You abused them, demanding a safehouse, resorted to shouting and swearing at them.

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"You spat at the protective screen and hit the window between you and them with a garden ornament.”