Paranoid Seaham bank worker jailed for threatening man with machete

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A MACHETE-WIELDING bank manager who became paranoid after unwittingly borrowing £5,000 from a Sunderland gangster has been jailed.

David Paul Baker bought two swords after a double arson attack, which first damaged his Audi A5, followed by the front door to his home in St Helen’s Drive, Seaham, the next day, Christmas Eve.

The 23-year-old, a manager for Barclays, became paranoid after the incidents and believed they were linked to a loan he “unwittingly” took out for £5,000 from a Sunderland gangster to buy the £18,000 car.

Durham Crown Court heard Baker, who lives at the house with his partner and child, confronted another driver in Seaham after believing he was linked to the trouble.

He was charged and admitted possession of an offensive weapon and using threatening words and behaviour after brandishing a machete at the man and shouted “do you want some?”.

Police found that weapon and the other sword unsheathed in the car during a search.

Lewis Kerr, mitigating, told Judge Michael Cartlidge Baker was unable to get a loan through his employer because of a poor credit rating and had £1,000 debt outstanding with Westcott Finance.

He had thought the loan, used as part of a £6,400 down payment on the Audi, was from a friend and did not realise it had come from the unnamed gangster.

The court heard he earned between £25,000 and £30,000 through his job, which he is taking a career break from, plus a further £10,000 from gambling.

Mr Kerr explained he thought buying the blades from a Sunderland shop was justified because of his fear over the loan repayments, with the second arson attack happening just an hour before he threatened the driver.

Judge Cartlidge queried why he was spending such an amount on a car when he had stopped working and in debt.

Sentencing him to six months for possessing the weapon and four for the threats, both to run concurrently, Judge Cartlidge said: “I think if the defendant gets in a situation where he forms an enthral to a gangster for a loan to buy a car for £18,000 when you can’t get it from his employer and one which is on a temporary basis, he really is the author of his own misfortune.”

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham