Jail for woman who terrified store boss with death threats

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

An obsessive woman terrified a store boss with a 10-week hate campaign of death threats and intimidation after she was arrested for shoplifting, a court heard.

Lynda Butterworth (39) lunged at Caron Wilson in the Card Factory, Burnley, told her to watch her back, walked up and down outside staring directly at her and told her she was dead. Butterworth had rung the victim at the shop and said: “I want to kill you.”

Your obsessive behaviour towards this innocent victim was very frightening for her

Judge Beverly Lunt

Miss Wilson had to have three weeks off work due to stress caused by the defendant, but Butterworth carried on ringing the store and making threats when she came back. The victim has been left scared for her safety and suffering from depression and panic attacks after her ordeal.

Burnley Crown was told how Butterworth, who had once been offered a job at the shop, had a record for harassment and flouting restraining orders. She has now been locked up for 10 months, after a judge said her conduct was “scary stuff.”

The defendant, of Laithe Street, Burnley, admitted harassment. She was also made subject to a four-year restraining order, banning her from contacting the victim and from going onto Howe Walk, Burnley.

Prosecutor Stephen Parker told the court Miss Wilson was the manager at the store and first became aware of Butterworth at Christmas 2012.

She offered her a job, although it was under a different name and for whatever reason the defendant did not turn up to start when she should have done. Butterworth went into the shop on a number of occasions over the next year or so and one time she was arrested for shoplifting.

The victim believed Butterworth had been banned from the town centre because of that and perhaps other stealing incidents as well.

The hearing was told Butterworth was an “habitual shoplifter” and had a record for harassment and breaching restraining orders throughout 2011. She was eventually sent to prison for the breaches.

Passing sentence, Judge Beverly Lunt told Butterworth she had caused Miss Wilson psychological harm. She said: “Your obsessive behaviour towards this innocent victim was very frightening for her.

“During the course of those orders you were offered help by the probation service and urged to have a mental health assessment.

“At that stage, you didn’t see you had any problems and wouldn’t do that. That being the state of affairs today the only way to punish you and protect the public is to send you to prison. There is no alternative.”