South Shields man who threatened his ex with home-made stun gun is spared jail
An army bomb squad was called in and scores of homes had to be evacuated after a man threatened his former girlfriend with a home-made stun gun.
Police and army experts attended Lake Avenue in South Shields after Wayne Allen was reported for holding the home-made weapon against his ex-partner's cheek when she went to collect personal belongings from his home after their break-up.
Residents from 61 houses were evacuated as a precaution while police, paramedics, firefighters and Army bomb disposal experts investigated the 39-year-old's property.
Allen had already left the area when the emergency services arrived at his home last August.
He was later arrested in Cheshire and admitted he had made the taser device, which was seized during the search, out of "curiosity".
Proscutor Michael Bunch told Newcastle Crown Court: "He said he had a background in electronics, was interested in them and heard some discussion about possible manufacture of such items and wondered whether he would be able to do so himself.
"He had done it for that reason, curiosity."
Allen had legitimate explanations for other items that were found during the search.
The court heard Allen had threatened his ex girlfriend, who he met through a dating agency, with the home-made device when she collected personal belongings from his flat after the breakdown of their relationship, and had slammed a door against her toe, causing pain, during the confrontation.
Earlier that month the couple had broken up after an argument erupted when she caught him chatting to other women online.
After threatening her with a hammer he had punched at her legs and grabbed at her throat during a violent attack which left her unconscious.
Mr Bunch told the court: "When she came round the defendant was pouring fizzy drink over her."
The court heard the victim, who had moved from County Durham to start a relationship with Allen in South Shields, has been left "petrified" by him.
She told police the relationship left her depressed and "almost too frightened to leave the house".
She added: "I am concerned he will try and find me and make my life hell for making a complaint to the police."
Allen, of Lake Avenue, South Shields, admitted assault, common assault and possessing a prohibited weapon.
The court heard he has served the equivalent of a 12-month prison sentence while on remand since his arrest last summer.
Judge Tim Gittins sentenced him to a community order for two years with rehabilitation requirements and a seven-year restraining order to keep him away from his former partner.
The judge told Allen: "When she returned to collect her property, in the argument that followed, you produced a prohibited weapon and pressed it against her cheek.
"While that was a weapon that was capable of working and capable of discharging an electrical current, there is no suggestion you tried to do so or that the batteries were connected."
Judge Gittins said the victim was "undoubtedly terrified" by what happened.
Paul Caulfield, defending, said Allen's behaviour was "out of his normal character" due to drink and drugs, which he is now motivated to avoid.
Mr Caulfield said Allen, who is not heavily convicted, has now lost the flat he was living in and will be moving in with grandparents after his release.
He added: "He is keen to get back to work, he is a tiler by trade."