Jail for Portsmouth man who terrorised woman and warned her children ‘would be burnt to a crisp’

A MAN who threatened to burn alive a woman’s children and said he had paid someone to throw acid in her face has been jailed.

Dennis Jennings harassed his victim over the course of 24 hours sending her text messages and going to her flat armed with a hammer.

Dennis Jennings

Dennis Jennings

The 28-year-old pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court to making threats to kill, putting a person in fear of violence by harassment, affray and having an offensive weapon.

The court heard from prosecutor Nick Tucker that Jennings, a water and gas engineer, sent a series of messages to the woman and called her while she was on a night out in April.

Mr Tucker said: ‘The next morning the victim and her friends awoke to banging on the door. He came in with a weapon and one of the friends told him to leave and put the hammer down. The friend was hit on the hip and elbow but sustained no injuries.

‘The defendant started threatening to kill people and swung the hammer towards the victim but missed.’

The threats to kill are a very serious matter.

Deputy circuit judge Field

Mr Tucker said the defendant was arrested later that day and police found a claw hammer in his van.

He added: ‘It was later that same day he phoned her saying he wasn’t finished and he talked about burning her children alive and they would be burnt to a crisp.

‘He said she would go to an early grave and she ruined his life so he would ruin hers. He also said he had paid someone to throw acid in her face.’

Mitigating, Barnaby Shaw said Jennings, of Kenyon Road, North End, was remorseful of his actions and understood they were irrational.

‘On the night in April, he went to his friends house and got himself worked up,’ he said.

‘He took cocaine and then went to the flat the next morning.’

Mr Shaw added: ‘He behaved irrationally and atrociously making disgusting threats. He accepts he was.

‘This is a course of conduct that’s over a 24-hour period.

‘He now has to find a way to make sure cocaine doesn’t become a feature of his life that fuelled his paranoia and his behaviour, behaviour that is not part of his normal characteristics.’

Jennings was given 12 months imprisonment for making threats to kill and nine months imprisonment to run consecutively for affray. He was also given 10 months for harassment and six months for having an offensive weapon. These will run at the same time as the other two sentences.

Deputy circuit judge Douglas Field said: ‘The threats to kill are a very serious matter. The complainant was in genuine fear and indeed she was terrified particularly about the threat to have her children burned.’