Son who threatened to burn down mum's home while demanding cash for drugs has been jailed

A son who threatened to burn down his mother's home while demanding £20 to buy drugs has been put behind bars.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 2:14 pm

Jonathan Watson was on a suspended prison sentence for trying to exploit money from a woman by threatening to send private photographs of her to her boyfriend when he targeted his mum.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 32-year-old had walked into his mother's home in Houghton, on November 19 last year and helped himself to cigarettes, sat down then started making demands for money.

Prosecutor Neil Jones told the court: "In short summary, this defendant frequently approached his mother for money to buy drugs.

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Jonathan Watson.
Jonathan Watson.

"The most recent encounter involved him threatening to burn her house down if she called the police."

The court heard the mum had told Watson "I'm not giving you drug money" but he continued to argue with her and utter threats.

During the row, Watson warned his mum, who did eventually hand over the cash: "If you phone the police and they come to my house and lock me up I will burn your house down."

Watson left the house as soon as he had the cash.

His mum said in a victim statement she made at the time: "I am fearful of what my son's actions will be if he doesn't receive the money he wants."

Mr Jones said despite what happened the mum felt "torn" and added: "She felt sorry for her son but his behaviour has left her in a state of total despair."

The mum said she found her son's behaviour and the repeated arguments "exhausting and draining".

Watson, of Baker Street, Houghton, admitted harassment.

The court heard Watson had been given a suspended sentence in May 2019 for causing "considerable distress" to the woman who he threatened with her private pictures.

Judge Julie Clemitson said Watson's compliance with the probation service under that order has been "very poor".

Judge Clemitson said Watson's mum has felt torn between wanting to continue to offer him support and be a part of his life while keeping herself safe.

The judge told Watson, who has mental health problems: "Your mother has had a long and difficult time with you.

"When you threatened to burn down her house she phoned the police.

"You made her frightened enough that she contacted the police and enough was enough.

"It seems this offence against your mother was all about wanting money for drugs. Mental health played a limited part in that."

The judge added: "You have had chance after chance to take advantage of the support available in the community.

"There is really no option left."

Judge Clemitson jailed Watson for nine months and issued a restraining order to keep him away from his mum's home for 18 months.

Penny Hall, defending, said Watson's mum is his main support and would offer him regular assistance.

Miss Hall said Watson's risk of offending would reduce if he complied with medication and a custodial sentence would simply "punish him" rather than rehabilitate.

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