A 22-YEAR-OLD man handed a suspended sentence for blackmail has been jailed after skipping community service in a charity shop to go on holiday to Amsterdam.
Jack Middlemore, of Hughes Avenue, Orford, was sent down for 18 months at Warrington Crown Court on Thursday, after only doing 10 hours of unpaid work in 16 months.
He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, at the same court in January 2013, and told to do 200 hours unpaid work.
A suspended sentence means the prison term will not be imposed as long as the defendant complies with the order, and does not commit another offence.
But last week, Judge Roger Dutton activated the suspended sentence after the ‘lazy’ defendant ‘ignored’ the unpaid work requirement.
The court heard Middlemore was recovering from a shoulder injury, but after being moved from menial work in a graveyard, to work as an assistant in a charity shop, he still ‘failed to turn up’.
Staff at the shop reported him as being ‘lazy’, while Middlemore also went on holiday with friends to Holland, the court heard.
“Sixteen months ago...the judge explained to you this was a strict order, with you not going to prison for what was a nasty blackmail,” said Judge Dutton.
“For the whole of the months that have gone by, you have managed to do just 10 hours of work.
“The report I have seen from the Probation Service confirms your claim you had a shoulder injury, but also confirms to me the Probation Service bent over backwards to accommodate the issue you had.
“Time and time again you failed to turn up, time and time again you produced no evidence of your condition.
“The Probation Service could have brought you back for breach of this order months ago. They didn’t.
“You have simply ignored this order and trusted that by proving some kind of illness you will never have to do this work.
“I’m afraid that is very far from the case.”
John Bernasco, defending, had asked for ‘one last chance’ for Middlemore to do the unpaid work, and said he needed regular physiotherapy.
Middlemore was given the suspended sentence in January last year, after pleading guilty to blackmail.
He threatened a man on Facebook he wrongly believed to have attacked his younger brother.
The defendant asked for £100 a week for 10 weeks, otherwise he would set fire to the victim’s house with his family inside.