Mum left terrified by sinister threats sent from ex she discovered was a convicted murderer

A mum was left terrified by sinister threats sent by her ex who she had found out was a murderer out on release from a life sentence.

The victim, who lives in South Tyneside, had no idea when she started dating Tony Brown that he had served 25 years in prison for killing a man he thought had made an "inappropriate comment" to his then partner in 1995.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the relationship, which started this spring over a dating website, deteriorated fast due to Brown's "controlling behaviour" and the woman decided to break things off in July.

In response, the 48-year-old killer called the victim a "******* coward", threatened to "bury" her son and sent "unpleasant and violent" threats that left her in fear.

Tony Brown is back in prison.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court during an argument as they were breaking up Brown told the woman he had a conviction for murder.

Mr Pallister said: "Although she had previously been made aware he had served time in prison, she hadn't known the nature of the conviction.

"She was shocked and worried by that revelation.

"From her point of view, they separated that morning. She told him she considered the relationship was over, she didn't wish to be with him.

"From that point onwards he began sending a large volume of messages to her."

Mr Pallister said the messages ranged from "amicable" to "threatening" and sometimes "incoherent or menacing".

Brown warned her to "watch", threated to "hurt" a male friend of hers, and said he would burn down the pub where he said she was "going to see other men".

He also left 22 voice messages over a 12-hour period and warned during one of them he would "bury" her son.

In a "rambling and swearing" Whatsapp message sent to the victim's friend, who was at her house at the time, Brown warned: "I will come over there and I will ******* burn the lot of you".

The victim told the court in a victim impact statement: "I'm terrified, I'm terrified in case Tony will come to my house and hurt me or my family like he has said he would.

"I really think he is capable of harming us.

"He has sent hundreds and hundreds of messages and I don't think I will ever get away from him.

"This has affected my whole life."

Brown, of West Percy Street, North Shields, admitted sending malicious communication.

Judge Amanda Rippon sentenced him to 15 months behind bars with a lifelong restraining order to protect the victim.

The judge said: "You told her you had been to prison but she wasn't aware you had a conviction for murder.

"No doubt that had a considerable impact on her, particularly when after that day, after telling her you were a convicted murderer, you went on to threaten to cause her serious harm, burn her house, hurt her son, burn down a pub she frequented."

At the end of the hearing Brown, who appeared via video link to prison, said: "I sincerely apologise to her, I never meant to cause her harm or any distress or anything like that."

Stuart Graham, defending, said Brown, who had been released from the life sentence in the past but was returned after he committed burglary, came out of prison to "a completely and utterly different world" and said his "head was completely and utterly in bits".

Mr Graham said the relationship "was not all negative" and Brown had been drinking when he sent the messages.

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