Thug spared jail for threats

A THUG has been given a three-year restraining order after a grudge saw him threaten a man in his own home while armed with a machete.

Raymond McLoughlin, 36, from Hartlepool, had a two-year grudge against Joseph Malham who had witnessed him committing an offence in a pub, a court heard.

McLoughlin, who had threatened him the previous day, turned up outside the home Mr Malham shares with his wife Janette in Elm Grove, Hartlepool, at 7.30pm on April 2 last year.

Prosecuting, Martin Towers told Teesside Crown Court: “This day the defendant was outside the property shouting some vague threats and he pulled a machete out at one stage.”

McLoughlin was in breach of a six month suspended jail sentence for affray in 2010.

Mr Towers asked the judge to impose a restraining order on McLoughlin for the protection of the Malhams.

McLoughlin was appearing for sentence after he was found guilty of affray and possession of a bladed article at a Teesside Crown Court trial last month and he had already spent 28 days in custody.

The court heard he has a conviction in 2003 for smashing a woman in the face with a monkey wrench and fracturing her eye socket.

Jim Withyman, mitigating, said the incident would clearly have been frightening for the couple.

Mr Withyman added: “It was a short affray.

“He stayed outside and he shouted, he showed this weapon and by the time the call to the police was made he had disappeared.

“Probably the best mitigation is that up until the trial there had been no further trouble. He had kept well away from the couple.”

The judge told McLoughlin that the time he had spent on remand could count as punishment for the breach of his suspended sentence for the previous affray.

Judge Peter Bowers told him on Monday: “Don’t get yourself into any confrontations again.

“It does not do you any good and certainly does not help me.”

McLoughlin, of Browning Avenue, Hartlepool, was given a 12 month jail sentence suspended for 18 months with supervision and a curfew until April 30 from 7pm to 5am.

He was also given a three-year restraining order banning him from contacting the Malhams or entering Elm Grove, Hartlepool.

The machete, which had been seized by police, was ordered to be destroyed.