Court told of man’s ‘chilling’ threats

York Crown Court
York Crown Court

THE “chilling” outpourings of a man resulted in him spending 248 days in custody, a court heard.

After being arrested for being drunk and disorderly in Scarborough town centre on August 5 last year, Mark Rhodes Johnson’s behaviour led police to call in the assistance of a forensic nurse.

York Crown Court heard that after hearing Johnson’s “chilling” outpourings, the nurse called in a psychiatrist.

As a result Johnson, 35, of Castlegate, Malton, ended up being remanded in custody awaiting sentence and the production of various reports.

In the end, The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, who thought about the case overnight, said that Johnson was not thought to be a danger to the public and released him, instead placing him under a community order.

David Hall, prosecuting, told the court how Johnson had caused concern after coming across as an angry man, against the establishment and in particular threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend.

Later Johnson was to repeat his threats during police interviews. Johnson has, since being remanded in custody, appeared in court several times, pleading guilty to a charge of threatening to kill and also to burgling a shop in York on June 13 last year.

Patricia Doherty, mitigating, told the court on Tuesday that her client had not seen his ex-partner for eight years and had no idea where she now lived.

Adding that her client had a problem with alcohol and gets “maudlin” when under its influence, Mrs Doherty said that he had made his threats after being on the “bender”.

Johnson was said by Mrs Doherty to have originally been upset that what he thought was a confidential consultation, where the nurse would listen and help him, had resulted in the authorities being informed and him appearing in court.

She added that as a result Johnson had spent the equivalent of a 17-month sentence on remand.

Judge Ashurst, who classed the threats made by Johnson as “chilling”, said that it was apparent he had been brooding over what he saw as an injustice.

He added that, having sobered up whilst in custody, Johnson had both expressed his remorse at making the threats and come to understand that the nurse had a public duty to report what appeared to be genuine and serious matters.

Sentencing Johnson to Supervision for 18 months, and to complete 200 hours unpaid work, the judge also placed him under an indefinite restraining order preventing him from having contact with his former partner.