Nightmare neighbour jailed for threatening to kill terrified family and 'shouting he had hammers and knives and was coming for them'

A "nightmare" upstairs neighbour who threatened to kill a terrified family while smashing his way through the ceiling of their flat has been jailed.

By Karon Kelly
Friday, 5th June 2020, 4:40 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th June 2020, 3:07 pm
James Brennan
James Brennan

James Brennan warned "I'm going to stab you, I'm going to ******* kill yous" while saying he had hammers and knives and banging so hard on his floor that the family's ceiling started to crack and plaster started to fall.

Newcastle Crown Court heard a mum, her partner and two children locked themselves in the living room downstairs, fearing the serial criminal, who shouted he was "coming for them", was about to get into the hallway.

During the ordeal the seven-year-old son living downstairs said he "thought they were going to die".

Brennan, who appeared in court today via video link to prison, said: "I know it wasn't right the way I was going on in the flat, but I didn't mean her or her family any harm."

After being told he would be going to jail and being banned from going back to his rented home for his behaviour, Brennan, who started offending when he was aged 10, told the judge: "It is absolutely outrageous I have been sentenced in this way.

"I want a different solicitor.

"You are punishing me twice.

"You can **** off."

Prosecutor Penny Hall told the court Brennan had been making noise at his flat in West George Potts Street, South Shields, on March 21 but the mum downstairs tried to ignore it and went to bed.

It as at around 4am the following morning she was disturbed by more noise and shouted "have you seen the time".

Miss Hall added: "The defendant then started banging loudly on his floor, shouting threats towards her, threats of 'I'm going to stab you, I'm going to ******* kill yous'.

"The defendant was banging so hard on his floor the ceiling in her home started to crack and plaster started to fall from it in the hallway area of the property.

"She could hear the defendant shouting he had hammers and knives and was coming for them.

"By this time she had woken her children and took them into the living room, where her partner was.

"They locked themselves in that room, fearing the defendant would come through the ceiling in the hallway area and harm them."

The court heard the mum and seven-year-old son, who said he "thought they were going to die", were "physically shaking" and the police were called twice by the family.

Brennan also contacted the police and was aggressive while making more threats during the call.

He lashed out at police who arrived and arrested him, leaving one officer with an injured thumb.

The mum said in a statement she was "terrified" of Brennan and living downstairs to him has been a "nightmare".

She said her children are "petrified" of Brennan and want to move home because of him.

Brennan admitted affray, criminal damage and assault on an emergency worker.

He had previously admitted assault on an emergency worker, another police officer, who had tried to arrest him during an incident in Manchester last September.

Brennan has convictions for 122 previous offences and was on a suspended sentence and a community order at the time he targeted the family.

Judge Robert Spragg sentenced him to two years behind bars with a lifelong restraining order to keep him away from his former home and from his victims.

The judge said: "This incident must have been a terriiying one for the vicitms."

Vic Laffey, defending, said Brennan has a good employment record and positive work ethic but has a history of mental health problems.

Mr Laffey said Brennan was angry and distressed that day after being chased by rivals who had attacked him in the past and "regrets" the distress he caused to the neighbours.

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