A CUSTOMER who threatened to set his relatives onto a garage owner unless he gave him hundreds of pounds has been locked up.
Eoin Ward (27), of Poplar Road, Wombwell, told the terrified mechanic that he was a member of a traveller family and he would get them to go to his garage unless he gave him £700.
Sheffield Crown Court heard Ward had left the garage owner in “a constant state of fear”.
Ward, who was jailed for a year on Monday, repeatedly harassed the garage owner in December 2019.
Mr James Baird, prosecuting, said Ward had taken his Toyota Avensis to Reshape Accident Repair in Sheffield to replace part of the side panelling and a bumper, and to get it resprayed.
The garage owner at Reshape asked Ward for a deposit for the new bumper but the defendant refused to pay.
The bumper was not replaced and the garage owner reduced the bill for the work, Mr Baird said.
When Ward turned up to collect his car he inspected it and refused to pay the bill at all, claiming the work had been substandard.
He then threatened to assault his victim and cause damage to his property and claimed he was part of a traveller family that he would send to the garage, Mr Baird said.
The victim feared the threats would be carried out so he agreed Ward could take the car without paying anything.
But Ward told the garage owner he had “ruined his vehicle” and demanded he give him £700.
Ward sent a string of text messages to him the following morning before turning up at the garage demanding £700 in cash, Mr Baird said.
Ward repeatedly harassed the mechanic for the money over the coming days until he happened to call the garage when the police were there \_ having been called there by the mechanic \_ and the officer spoke to him on the phone.
Ward stood trial for blackmail but during the proceedings he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of putting a person in fear of violence, which the Crown Prosecution Service accepted.
The garage owner said in a statement read to the court that he had been in a constant state of fear that Ward would turn up at his garage.
Mr Benn Robinson, mitigating, said Ward’s family had been the victims of horrific crimes in recent years and the defendant’s mental health had been impacted at the time of the offence.
Jailing Ward, Judge David Dixon said his campaign of harassment had been intended to maximise fear in his victim.
He said: “The fear for him was that someone would head round and hurt him, or his business, or both.
“Even when you telephoned on one occasion and got one of his employees, that did not stop you.”
Judge Dixon banned Ward from contacting the garage owner for ten years by way of a restraining order.