Mum’s ‘petrifying’ violent £18,000 debt threat was staged by bitter ex-boyfriend

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A MUM went through 12 days of terror when a stranger turned up at her door demanding £18,000.

Darren Woodward warned Deborah Taylor she must pay the full amount, which he claimed was owed by her and her late partner who died in 2010, within seven days.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the mum-of-three was left “petrified” when her car window was smashed and she received a warning message saying “that’s nothing to what’s coming”.

Despite being ordered not to contact the police, Miss Taylor, of Washington, reported her ordeal.

Investigations revealed Miss Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jason Williams, was behind the scam, resulting from their bitter break-up.

Williams, 41, of Milton Avenue, Houghton, admitted breaching a non-molestation order already in place to ban him from contacting her.

His pal Woodward, 34, of Lambourne Close, Burnmoor, admitted harassment.

In a victim personal statement Miss Taylor said: “I am petrified because I don’t know who these people are.

“I am constantly looking out of my windows to see if they have come back.

“I honestly don’t know why they have come to my house.

“I just need it to stop.”

Judge Jeremy Freedman sentenced the pair to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with supervision.

Williams was given a three-year restraining order banning him from having contact with his ex.

Judge Freedman told Williams: “You vented your feelings to Darren Woodward and he, out of misplaced loyalty, took it upon himself to put Deborah Taylor in fear by way of punishment.

“She was understandably petrified.”

Nigel Barnes, defending, said Williams had a relationship with Miss Taylor in the 1990s. He moved to Sweden after they broke up, but came back to be with her in 2008.

Mr Barnes said: “He invested everything he had into the relationship with her.”

Mr Barnes said Williams’ mental health has suffered as a result of the break-up.

Glen Gatland, also defending, said Woodward is not in good health and got involved when he realised his friend was “at his wits end”.