Businessman in dock over ‘death threats’

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A WIGAN man has told a jury how he was ordered to hand over £10,000 cash and his Audi A3 then later repeatedly threatened.

David Williamson, who gave his evidence from behind a screen, said that the demand was made by businessman Steven Breheny, whom he had known for 10 years, during a telephone conversation.

“I asked why, and he said, ‘you know what you have done’. I had done nothing wrong,” Mr Williamson told Liverpool Crown Court.

He was giving his evidence at the start of the trial of Breheny, who is in the dock along with Paul Sutton.

Breheny, 40, of Whittle Lane, Parbold, denies nine charges including demanding money with menace from two men, making threats to kill, assault, criminal damage and conspiracy to steal vehicles.

Sutton, 48, of Twogood Lane, Wrightington, only faces the conspiracy charge, which he denies.

Mr Williamson told the jury that when Breheny rang him on May 12 last year Breheny had been with another man he knew, Ben Farnworth, and there followed further calls during which he received threats saying he was “going to get it” and that he would be under so much pressure he would hang himself.

He was told two men were waiting at his home and he drove there in his works van at lunchtime to move his Audi but found it had gone. “He had already got it. I did not get out of the vehicle as I was worried there might be people in the house. I just drove past.”

Mr Williamson, a driller, said he drove back to work. “I didn’t know what to do next, I know what he’s like.”

He claimed he began receiving more calls, including some from Breheny, telling him they wanted the log book for the five-year-old Audi, which was worth £10,000. “They said they would put bullets through my windows, break my legs, laughing while saying you cannot do anything about it.”

He said he found out about five days later that his car was at a garage in Stephen’s Way, Worsley Mesnes, and he told the police who impounded it.

He later heard from Mr Farnworth that Breheny wanted to know if he had told the police and given names. He said he had told the police but not given names and Breheny rang him saying that every day he did not hand over the money demanded it would double, he claimed. Mr Williamson said that he received threats from a man with a Scouse accent threatening to chop his head off as he was “a grass.”

Three days after the first phone call he went home and found that the vehicle documents and spare key were missing. He said that after he changed his phone number the calls stopped and he has since moved address.

He also told how on a later occasion he saw Breheny on a Harley Davidson motorbike and so he decided to avoid him by driving over a field. Breheny later told him to stop being stupid and go to the police.

Questioned by Neville Biddle, prosecuting, Mr Williamson said he finally got his car back about 70 days after it had been taken.

Proceeding