Sunderland blackmailer attacked victim with spike

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A BLACKMAILER who told his victim “for every pound you owe me, I will put a hole in you” and then attacked him with a spike, has been jailed.

Greg Neal, 30, claimed that the man caused £500-worth of damage to his mother’s car and demanded it back.

Neal, of James William Street, Sunderland, went to the man’s house on April 24 last year and put a note through his letterbox asking for the cash.

Later that day, he returned and when the victim answered the door, Neal forced his way inside and attacked the man with a spike, causing injuries to his hand, eye and back of the head.

Paul Rowlands, prosecuting, said that the defendant had been “agitated and angry” when he arrived at the address. He said: “Mr Neal continued his demands for £500.

“The whole of the attack happened in the hallway of the complainant’s home and afterwards the defendant ran off.

“As a consequence of the assault, the victim was treated at the Sunderland Royal Hospital and surgery was required on his hand.” Neal was arrested on the same day as the assault after police found him hiding in a loft.

He pleaded guilty to blackmail, assault and possession of a bladed article at Newcastle Crown Court.

Jamie Adams, defending, said: “Mr Neal can only be thankful that the injuries weren’t more severe than they were, the attack seems to have been brief.

“There does appear to be some regret.”

Mr Adams told the court that Neal accepted that he had problems with drugs and alcohol.

Sentencing Neal, Judge John Evans, said: “It must have been a frightening experience for the victim, you are physically his superior and you had a significant advantage in that you were armed.

“You inflicted very unpleasant injuries.”

Judge Evans sentenced Neal to two years and three months in jail for the blackmail and assault, and 12 months for possession of a bladed article, which he will serve concurrently.