A man who abused a couple’s hospitality before threatening the vulnerable pair has been jailed after he tried to force them to change their statements while in custody.

Thomas Smith became abusive and threatening when the woman refused to make him a sandwich while staying in their Darlington home.

The 28-year-old kicked off and made a series of threats before storming out after spending six-months staying at their home, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said Smith later returned to the property after he was released from court and demanded that the couple give him £1,000 in cash.

The court heard how Smith was arrested and remanded in custody where a number of his telephone calls were recorded and monitored.

Mr Dryden said the calls started on March 28 last year when he asked someone to go their home and get them to retract their statements to police.

On April 5, 2023, the defendant was recorded telling someone to go and ask them how much money they want to stop co-operating with the police.

Mr Dryden added: “The couple have left the area and are living elsewhere. They are no longer living in Darlington.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Thomas SmithThomas Smith (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Smith, of Coleridge Gardens, Darlington, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and making threats causing fear of harm.

Dan Cordey, mitigating, said his client had no problems with the terms of the restraining order.

Judge Richard Bennett sentenced the defendant to 15 and a half months in custody.

“You were homed, fed and your washing was done. Indeed, you became so used to them doing what you wanted that you demanded that the woman make and bring you sandwiches and that seems to have been the final straw,” he said.

“You were arrested and you were angry that she had left her door open so that the police could get in. When you were released from court you went straight back round to confront them and made some ugly threats.

“You demanded money from them both. Those threats were reported and you were arrested again.

“This time you were remanded in custody. It’s clear from the phone calls that you were trying to engineer some sort of retraction from them.”

Smith was also made subject of a five-year restraining order.