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A couple who dressed as Santa and his elf to raise money for charity told a man they would “make his mum’s Christmas” hell.
Daniel Collinson, 32, and his wife Kyrie’s launched a blackmail plot after a dispute with the victim whose car Mr Collinson had repaired.
The argument, which was about price, spiralled and resulted in Mr Collinson sending threatening messages to the customer before Mrs Collinson, 35, took over the abuse, reports StokeonTrentLive.
She warned the victim she would “have his balls on a plate”.
He was told that it would be posted on social media that he had stolen from a charity, that his car would be burned out, that a hammer would be put through his window, and that they would “make his mum’s Christmas hell”.
At one point, a note containing fake blood was put through the man’s mother’s door.
When police got involved, they found fake blood in the Collinsons’ home on Castle Street in Chesterton, Stoke-on-Trent.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard the majority of the messages were sent by Mrs Collinson, 35.
Prosecutor Antony Longworth said: “Mr Collinson turned up at the man’s mother’s address. He demanded the money. He left in a bad temper and began to send text messages demanding the money.
“The man invited him to take him to the small claims court. Collinson and his wife responded with increasingly abusive and threatening messages.
“Mrs Collinson sent repeated messages to abuse and annoy the man. She threatened to post on social media that the man had stolen from children and a charity.
“She said she would have his balls on a plate and did not mind harassing his mother and said she would make his mum’s Christmas hellish.
“She said a hammer might go through a window on Halloween and added if he paid he could have his life back. She said if the money was not paid by November 5 his car would be burned.
“A note with fake blood was put through the man’s mum’s door. Photos of her house were posted on WhatsApp.”
At the beginning of November 2021 the man contacted the police and both defendants were arrested.
In his police interview Mr Collinson accepted he had sent messages to get the man to pay the disputed money.
He then passed the campaign on to his wife. He said he was ashamed and wanted to say sorry. Mrs Collinson accepted sending the bulk of the messages.
She could not remember the message about putting a hammer through the window.
She added she had not made the note in fake blood but knew it was prepared at her home.
In a victim statement, the man said the campaign left him very stressed and he feared for his and his mother’s safety.
He said he is constantly looking over his shoulder.
His mum was left feeling scared in her own home, the court head.
Both Daniel and Kyrie Collinson pleaded guilty to blackmail.
Paul Cliff, representing Kyrie, said his client was not privy to the agreement her husband and the man had reached regarding payment.
She believed some of the family money had been spent for the work to be completed.
Mr Cliff said: “There was contact with the victim that was rebuffed. She formed the view she was being deliberately stonewalled.
“In her frustration she began this unpleasant and upsetting sequence of conduct.
“She is embarrassed and ashamed that she involved a 70-year-old woman.
“She accepts she got carried away in her frustration and she offers her apologies to the court and the victims.
“She has no previous convictions. She is not the sort of person who harbours pro-criminal attitudes.
“She does a lot of work in the community and provides a good deal of help to a good many people.
“Plenty of people have something positive to say about her.”
Mr Cliff added that Mrs Collinson has medical problems.
Anis Ali, mitigating for Mr Collinson, said his client’s dad is in intensive care and his brother is also in hospital.
Mr Collinson must complete 180 hours unpaid work as part of his sentence.
Judge Paul Glenn said: “There is an argument as to whether a price was agreed upfront.
“The fact is you returned his vehicle on October 19, 2021 and provided him with a bill for £1,100.
“He protested that it was not the agreed price.
“He paid £500 and asked for time to pay the balance. He did not pay the balance.
“Verbal threats were made to him. He received repeated texts from you both containing threats to damage his and his mother’s property, a 70-year-old widow living alone.
“Kyrie Collinson, you sent the vast majority of the messages and they were appalling. You better be ashamed of yourself.”
Mr Collinson has been sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and his wife was sentenced to 10 months in jail, suspended for 18 months
The judge made both defendants the subject of a restraining order which prevents them contacting their victims for five years.
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