A MAN has been found guilty of a knife-point robbery where he threatened to stab his own cousin.
Lee Lebiham brandished and then lunged at Mark Redpath with a knife before making off with cash from his safe.
Newcastle Crown Court heard before the 23-year-old raider left the house, in Washington, he warned Mr Redpath not to contact the police.
During the raid Lebiham told his cousin he was desperate for cash to pay off a drug dealer who was after him.
Lebiham, of Renfrew Road, Sunderland, denied robbery and was tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.
Jurors dismissed Lebiham’s claims the cousin had lied about what happened to him and found him guilty. He will be back before the court to be sentenced next month.
Prosecutor Andrew Walker told the court during the trial Lebiham had turned up at Mr Redpath’s home on September 10 last year in an agitated state, asking for money and a place to stay.
Lebiham then pocketed a jar containing £1 coins and threatened to stab his cousin when he objected and tried to stop him.
Mr Walker said: “The defendant approached him again and held the knife up to him and demanded he open a safe in the flat.
“Inside the safe was a few hundred pounds in cash and, even though he was being threatened with a knife, initially Mr Redpath said no.
“The defendant lunged at him with the knife and at that point Mr Redpath took the view the defendant was completely out of control.
“The defendant held the knife up to his throat and demanded the key for the safe.
“Mr Redpath handed it over.
“The defendant emptied the safe of cash and left the flat, after warning Mr Redpath not to contact the police.”
Lebiham was arrested after being found hiding in a cupboard at his mother’s house a week later. He claimed Mr Redpath had agreed to lend him money and denied there was any threat or knife.