Sunderland man threatened to attack girlfriend with machete after Facebook row

Liam Cain.
Liam Cain.

A man who threatened to attack his on-off girlfriend with a machete following a Facebook argument has been spared jail.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Liam Cain turned up at the victim's address in Sunderland carrying a machete in a holdall.

Harry Hadfield, prosecuting, told the court how the 19-year-old and the woman had been messaging over Facebook.

He said: "The messaging was in the form of an argument."

Mr Hadfield said that, during the conversation, Cain referred to her in a "derogatory" way and told her he was going to come around and sort her out.

Mr Hadfield told the court: "At twenty to one in the afternoon there was a knock at her door. She's looked through the spyhole and seen the defendant standing there.

"He said 'let me in or I will kick off'.

"When he was at the door he said 'I've got a machete, I'm going to sort you out'.

"He started beating the door, again being derogatory towards her."

The court heard how the police were called following the incident on March 17 this year.

When they arrived at the property, Cain ran off.

The court heard how an officer pursued Cain and arrested him.

Cain was found with a "serrated snap knife" in his possession and when the officers searched the property they found the holdall containing a machete.

Mr Hadfield told the court: "Obviously the victim was frightened about what happened if he had got into the flat."

In a victim impact statement, read to the court by Mr Hadfield, the woman said: "I'm really scared of what's happened. It's shook me up. I have tried to help the defendant.

"I cannot do this anymore I'm in fear about what he will do in the future.

"I will not allow this to drag me down.

"I will constantly look over my shoulder in case he's there."

Cain, of Rosemount, Sunderland, admitted two counts of possessing a bladed article and one count of making malicious communication at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court on March 18.

Tom Mitchell, defending, cited a reference which described Cain as a "hard working, loyal and competent and frankly good at his job".

He told the court how Cain was given work by a bricklayer who "was something of a mentor to the defendant".

However the man took his own life in September last year.

Mr Mitchell said that with no work Cain "spiralled downwards".

He said: "Work was the thing that kept him going and to a far extent at least out of bother.

"The last month in custody has given him plenty of time to think about what he's done."

Mr Mitchell told the court that the victim did not want Cain to be handed a restraining order against her and she wants to continue in a relationship with him.

The judge, Recorder Anthony Kelbrick, told Cain: "You behaved extremely badly.

"I hope you can imagine the fear that you cause to anybody."

Recorder Kelbrick said that Cain was young and had no previous convictions.

He sentenced him to 10 months in prison suspended for two years with rehabilitation.

Cain was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.