Death threats via Facebook

Crime story
Crime story

A WIGAN man who tried to terrorise a victim via Facebook has been sent to Crown Court for sentence.

Victim Leighton Winstanley was arrested by police after Neil Melling of Woolton Close, Ashton, made a complaint to them about a “serious assault.”

But 37-year-old chef Melling was so angry when the Crown Prosecution Service released gym worker Mr Winstanley without charge, he launched a campaign by keyboard against him.

Prosecutor Katie Beattie told Wigan and Leigh magistrates that Melling, who was living at The Bellingham Hotel at the time of the offence, threatened via the social media site that he could arrange for a petrol bomb attack on Mr Winstanley’s mother’s home and pay “some skank” to do it.

He also warned his victim via Facebook: “I am going to snuff you out” and “You are £500 away from being less than nothing.”

However he refused to make any comment when police arrived at the hotel to arrest him.

Melling, who has 25 previous convictions from 32 offences, pleaded guilty to harassment without violence and being found with a quantity of a controlled drug, cannabis leaf.

The latest offences means he is in breach of an 18-month community order imposed for racially aggravated public disorder in January. Mr Stone said Mr Winstanley was not scared for his safety because of the threats, but was concerned about Melling’s “unpredictable” behaviour.

Patrick Heald, defending, said there was history between the two men which stemmed from the complaint to the police which led to Mr Winstanley’s arrest.

Eventually the CPS decided not to act on it, which had been a source of grievance for Melling, who had made the threats via his laptop when “intoxicated.”

Mr Heald told the bench: “These were hollow threats by Mr Melling and there is no suggestion he intended to follow them through.

“The allegations were “ distasteful and unpleasant but not terribly serious.”

He was remanded on conditional bail to appear before Liverpool Crown Court for sentence on May 15.