South Scotland

Melrose home burning threats man jailed

A man has been jailed after threatening to burn down another man's family home if he did not pay him £18,000.

Mark Croxford, 54, of Gayton in Northamptonshire, previously admitted making the threats to Mark Livingstone at his house in Melrose in July 2015.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard Croxford believed his son was owed the money by Mr Livingstone.

Sheriff Norman McFadyen said the charge was of a "very serious nature" and jailed him for 12 months.

Fiscal Depute Rosanna Chapman told the court how Croxford had left several threatening messages on Mr Livingstone's phone.

He repeatedly asked for the money, insulted Mr Livingstone and told him he had 10 days to get the money or he would "torch" his home.

His victim then contacted the police.

'Difficult time'

Defence solicitor, Mark Harrower, said his client's son - a self employed tradesman - had worked for a company owned by Mr Livingstone.

The company went bust in 2014 and a lot of people had not been paid, including Croxford's son, who claimed he was owed £18,000.

Mr Harrower said his client had been under considerable stress in 2015 and had been on medication for depression and drinking to excess.

He and his partner had set up their own business, but she had left him in 2015 after he assaulted her.

The woman, he added, had written to the court saying she believed Croxford was going though "a difficult time".

The lawyer said his client had listened to recordings of his calls to Mr Livingstone and was ashamed.

Jailing Croxford, Sheriff McFadyen told him: "The crime was committed by someone of intelligence who had given thought to what he was doing.

"I have been asked to consider an alternative to custody, but having regard to your past record and conduct here, only a custodial sentence is appropriate".

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