Three drunken men who subjected a love triangle widower to a terror ordeal after pushing their way into his home, have been jailed for more than nine years.
Victim Ian Brennan was threatened and intimidated by his love rival, Shaun Andrews, and blackmailed by Michael Boothby who offered him “protection”.
The campaign of fear had begun after a woman was said to have told both Andrews and Mr Brennan she wanted to be with them. Drug-user Andrews went to confront him and took Boothby and Paul Brooks along.
Andrews (26), of Parliament Street, Burnley, was jailed for three years nine months, after admitting affray and burglary.
Boothby (27), formerly of Pritchard Street, Burnley, but now of Princess Street, Church, was sent to prison for four years. He admitted burglary, blackmail, theft and affray.
Brooks (41), an alcoholic, of Heath Street, Burnley, admitted two counts of affray and was jailed for 18 months. All have long criminal records.
Burnley Crown Court was told Mr Brennan was terrified and shaking and, after his ordeal, left the house in Burnley where he had lived for 15 years and would not return.
He had been taken to a cash machine to draw out protection money, his late wife’s diamond ring was among property stolen during the night, and his car was also taken.
Sentencing, Judge Beverly Lunt told the trio their conduct had been “disgraceful, terrifying and criminal.” She added: “You all behaved in a threatening and intimidating manner, intending, and succeeding to frighten the poor man.”
The court was told the men went to Mr Brennan’s house twice in one night.
On the first visit Brooks appeared to drag Andrews away as if to stop him, but he was with the men when they returned when Andrews and Boothby went through Mr Brennan’s drawers and cupboards, got him to empty his pockets and stole money, tobacco, a phone and the ring.
Mr Mark Stuart (defending Andrews) said custody was inevitable. He had been in a relationship with the woman but she wanted to be with both men. He had thought the woman was in the house when he went there. He was upset but no actual violence was used. Mr Stuart said Andrews had had an appalling upbringing, but now had a partner, who had a child, and she would wait for him.
Mr Tim Storrie (defending Boothby) said his partner had died not long ago and left him alone with a child. He had turned to drink and become associated with Andrews. He acted out of misguided loyalty to his friend and was expecting prison.
Mr Philip Holden (defending Brooks) said it was not necessary to send him to immediate custody. His part had been “general threatening behaviour and presence.” Mr Holden added: “While he was undoubtedly involved in this enterprise, he was the more moderate voice within it.”