'Obsessive' dad's chilling threats to kill ex wife and burn down home

Jealous Matthew Horton made chilling threats to kill his ex wife. The 40-year-old also sent threatening messages to her new partner, his step dad and his mum.

Now Horton has been jailed for 16 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court. Prosecutor Sarah Turner said Horton was seen by a social worker on January 19 and she asked him about comments he made during a previous assessment.

Miss Turner said: "He said he had been married to his partner for 25 years and she had an affair. He said if she wants to behave like a prostitute then she will be treated like a prostitute. He said he was from a travelling community. He said his ex and her partner would be killed and, 'Once my children are out the house I will set fire to it'."

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On February 8 he told a support recovery worker his ex had six months to hand over the children or he would kill her and her partner. Miss Turner said: "He said he would slit her throat."

In a victim statement his ex said she was fearful he would continue to breach orders once released. In his police interview Horton accepted making the threats but said it was because he had not taken his medication.

On February 28 he sent threatening communications to his step dad in which he said, 'Watch how I burn your face and drill holes in you'.

He later sent a threatening message to his ex's new partner in which he said, 'You are dead lad. Say goodnight. I will get the last laugh. There is £50,000 on your head. I am going to burn you lad. I am taking your life, your house. Watch me. I am taking your house, your knee caps. I am going to kill your family. I am going to snap your legs'.

And he sent a menacing message to his mum on the same day. He said, 'Big mistake mum. I own you mum'.

Horton, now of Yarborough Road, Lincoln, pleaded guilty to sending a malicious communication; two charges of making threats to kill and sending by the public communications network an offensive, menacing message.

Paul Cliff, mitigating, said Horton did not receive his medication for a period in custody as his cell mate stole his tablets. Mr Cliff said: "He has a history of paranoid schizophrenia, anxiety and ADHD. He was not mentally well.

"He accepts he made the vile threats in anger. There was no intention of carrying out the threats."

He said the messages posted on Facebook were not directly sent to his victims.

Mr Cliff said Horton's ex is now in a relationship with his former best friend. He said: "He was angry. He lashed out. He made threats via a social media site. He tells me the threats were hollow but the victims would have been distressed and frightened."

Mr Cliff added that Horton is now taking his medication and there has been a significant improvement in his mental health. His offending triggered his recall to prison and he has spent three months in custody as a result of his 'foolish' behaviour.

Recorder Robert Smith made Horton the subject of a restraining order which prevents him contacting his victims indefinitely. He told Horton: "You were not mentally ill at the time of the threats to kill offences.

"You have displayed traits of obsessive jealousy and controlling behaviour in relation to your ex wife. I accept you have some significant mental health issues.

"That relationship is over. Every single time you behave in this way it makes it less and less likely you will ever see your children again. Threats to kill is so serious only immediate custody is appropriate."

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