Hartlepool samurai sword threat victim had ‘never been so frightened’

Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court

A Hartlepool dad who threatened his ex-partner with a Samurai sword is today behind bars.

After Jonathon Coxon was arrested, Katie Foster-Topping told police: “I have never been so frightened in my life as I was today. I thought Jonathon was going to kill me, that he was intending to do me some serious harm.”

I have never been so frightened in my life as I was today. I thought Jonathon was going to kill me, that he was intending to do me some serious harm.

Katie Foster-Topping

Teesside Crown Court heard Miss Foster-Topping called at Coxon’s home to collect the couple’s two-year-old son.

“There was an unpleasant exchange, the defendant said the boy was not there and she would have to wait,” said prosecutor Harry Hadfield.

“While she was there she picked up one of the defendant’s dogs and began to pet it. He asked for his dog back and said: ‘Give me back my dog or I will kill you.’

“The defendant then went inside and came out with what she thought was a machete, but turned out to be a samurai sword.

“He continued threatening her, waving the samurai sword around and saying; ‘I am going to kill you’.”

Coxon, 20, had pleaded guilty to making threats to kill on a previous occasion and appeared for sentence.

Gary Wood, for Coxon, said he had co-operated fully with police and accepted his behaviour had been ‘completely disproportionate and unacceptable.’

“It was a relatively short incident and the defendant tells me he was quite some distance away from the complainant when the threat was made, but nevertheless, accepts making the threat,” he said.

A psychiatric report showed the death of Coxon’s father had had ‘quite a profound effect’ on him: “It may provide some explanation of why he has behaved in the way he has.”

Coxon, of St Bee’s Walk, Hartlepool, was sentenced to a year’s detention with a three-year restraining order.

Sentencing Jonathon Coxon to a year’s detention, Judge Peter Armstrong told him the use of a samurai sword made custody inevitable.

Even if Coxon had not really had any intention to harm Miss Foster-Topping, it was inevitable that she would have been scared, he said: “Miss Foster-Topping was petrified by those actions, as indeed, she was entitled to be,” he said.

“You may not have intended to use the sword, but you certainly intended her to believe it, because that was the reason you collected it.”

The fact the incident had occurred as the pair were having contact for childcare reasons was also an aggravating factor, said the judge.

Given Coxon’s good character, he was cutting the starting sentence of 18 months to 12: “That is the least sentence I can impose bearing in mind the aggravating and mitigating factors we have been given.”

Coxon will serve six months in custody and six on licence.