A father infuriated by the early arrival of a taxi made an aggressive phone call to the firm involved, threatening to burn it to the ground.
The News and Star reports that Gareth Sharpe, 26, made the abusive and threatening phone call to the firm, in Workington, on May 14, Carlisle’s Rickergate Magistrates’ Court heard. He admitted the offence.
Prosecutor Andy Travis said the taxi involved arrived at the defendant’s home to collect his son at 4pm that day but Sharpe, from Egremont, told the driver he should not have come until an hour later.
The defendant, who appeared before Carlisle Magistrates’ Court via video link because he is currently in jail, later called the firm, and a woman who worked there took the call. Mr Travis said Sharpe was immediately aggressive.
He said the taxi should have arrived at 5pm and that as a result of its early arrival he had to return from rugby early. Despite the woman trying to calm Sharpe down, he continued to be abusive.
He told her: “I’m coming to the office and I’m going to smash your face in. I’m going to come through and burn your office to the ground.”
The woman told him she was not paid to take such abuse and asked him if he was making a threat, but he refused the answer the question and continued to be offensive.
Mr Travis said: “The threats worried her and the phone call left her feeling distressed and shocked.”
When he was arrested, Sharpe refused to comment but in court he entered a guilty plea to using the telephone network to send an offensive and menacing message.
The court heard that the defendant has a criminal record that includes 19 convictions for 27 offences and he is currently serving a jail term for an assault. John Cooper, for the defendant, said that the time of the call Sharpe had separated from his partner.
“He accepts that he lost his temper,” said Mr Cooper, saying that the arrival of the taxi early meant he had lost out on spending time with his son. But Sharpe had handed himself into the police.
District Judge Gerald Chalk said he noted the extreme language used, and the threats, but given that the defendant is already in jail there was no appropriate community order that he could impose.
He gave Sharpe a two-year conditional discharge. If he gets into trouble during that period he will be dealt with afresh for this offence.