A 58-YEAR-OLD man threatened to kill a judge in a dispute over a state handout for a funeral.
Kenneth Boxall was given a suspended sentence and ordered to observe a curfew by a judge at Teesside Crown Court.
Boxall still denies making the threat to shoot District Judge Ron Coia, despite being found guilty of the offence at the end of a four-day trial last month.
Prosecutor Richard Bennett told the court Boxall was annoyed when Judge Coia refused him leave to appeal a Department of Works and Pensions decision to reduce a funeral grant from £742 to £691.
“He contacted the tribunal service in Newcastle to discuss the case,” said Mr Bennett.
“During the call he told Erin Slater, a clerk, he would find out where Judge Coia lives and shoot him.
“His intention to do so was repeated later in the call.
“The threat was taken seriously, as it had to be, but it’s now accepted there was no intention to harm the judge.”
Boxall, of Pentland Close, Peterlee, was convicted of making threats to kill on September 1, 2010.
He has previous convictions for assault, fraud and related offences of dishonesty, and theft. His last conviction was in 1986.
Representing himself, Boxall said: “The case has taken a long time to come to court partly because I had six solicitors and 10 barristers, although I was happy with a couple of them.
“I can’t agree with the remarks in the pre-sentence report about my inter-personal skills, but I suppose everyone is entitled to their opinion.
“I am a carer for members of my family.”
Judge Peter Armstong sentenced Boxall to 12 months in prison suspended for two years, and a night-time curfew for eight weeks.
The judge said: “Making a threat against any public servant is a serious matter, but I accept this threat was made in temper and never likely to be carried out.
“The offence still passes the custody threshold, but I have concluded society will be better served by you remaining at home to carry out your caring duties.”
Boxall said he intends to appeal his conviction.