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Lowestoft man, 34, put hand round throat of boy, 5, and threatened to kill him, court told

PUBLISHED: 06:30 30 April 2014

A man who “terrified” a five-year-old boy by threatening to kill him and his mother has been spared jail.

Brett Anderton, 34, had persuaded his ex-girlfriend to let him collect items from her Costessey home after they separated, Norwich Crown Court heard yesterday.

Anderton, of Oulton Road, Lowestoft, was in drink when he arrived and pushed his way past the mother-of-three when she opened the door.

He is not the father of her three children, who are aged between five and 14 months and were all in the house at the time.

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said Anderton locked the front door, kept hold of the keys and badgered his ex-girlfriend to give the relationship another try.

When she refused he held the keys to her throat and threatened to kill her, before putting a hand around the throat of her five year-old son and threatening to kill him too, the court heard.

His ex-girlfriend had her 14-month-old daughter in her arms at the time.

Mr Ivory said Anderton told his ex-girlfriend: “I will do 30 years for this.

“At least if I kill you no-one else can have you.”

Her five-year-old son went pale, began to shake and hyperventilated when he heard the threats, the court heard.

While Anderton asked his ex-girlfriend not to call an ambulance as paramedics may ask what had happened, he did not stop her, Mr Ivory added.

In a victim impact statement his ex-girlfriend said she had to move house as a result of the incident, and her five-year-old regularly asked her if Anderton was in prison.

Anderton pleaded guilty to making threats to kill in the incident on January 8.

Jonathan Goodman, mitigating, said Anderton had alcohol dependency issues, deserved credit for his plea and had “come to his senses” and allowed an ambulance to be called for the hyperventilating five-year-old.

He added he had already served 16 weeks in prison on remand for the offence.

Judge Katharine Moore, sentencing, described Anderton’s behaviour as “truly disgraceful”, and noted he had a “cruel and controlling” side.

She said the threats were made in clear view of the victim’s young children.

“The little boy didn’t want his mummy killed,” she added, “Not content with the upset you caused that little boy, you threatened to kill him as well.”

She said the child was “completely terrified” and said the incident was a “gross abuse of power and control”.

Anderton was sentenced to 16 months in prison suspended for two years and handed a two year community order including a course on building better relationships and one on tackling alcohol problems.

Making a restraining order, Judge Moore ordered Anderton not to visit any address where his ex-girlfriend and her three children were living, not to make direct or indirect contact with the children or go within 500m of them.

Speaking after the hearing, Anderton’s ex-girlfriend said the sentence was too soft.

“It’s not enough for the impact it’s had on my little boy,” she said. “I can’t lie to my children and for me to tell them he’s walking free - how’s that going to make my little boy feel?

“I don’t feel justice has been done.”

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