Woman threatens to shoot former boyfriend
A woman was given a suspended sentence of 12 months yesterday after she admitted threats to murder a lawyer.
The Supreme Court heard that Loreesa Burchall, 30, threatened to shoot Kamal Worrell and slash his throat in a series of messages sent between December 2018 and January last year.
Karen King, for the Crown, told the Supreme Court that Burchall and Mr Worrell had been in a relationship for several years, but split up in 2018.
She said Mr Worrell received an e-mail from Burchall in which she threatened to “blow his brains out” on December 18 that year. Burchall also threatened to shoot him in the head with a 9mm handgun in another e-mail sent the next day.
Ms King said that Burchall threatened to cut Mr Worrell’s throat and said she would “smoke a spliff” as she watched him die in other messages sent in January 2019.
Burchall, from Southampton, was arrested and admitted three counts of sending death threats and three counts of improper use of public communications.
Ms King asked the court for a sentence of between 12 months and 18 months.
But Charles Richardson, for Burchall, said his client was trying to distance herself from an abusive relationship.
He told the court: “The messages that she sent to him have to be seen in context.”
Mr Richardson read a longer excerpt of the first threatening e-mail, in which Burchall alleged past abuse and asked Mr Worrell to “end this cycle of pain”.
She wrote: “The next time you hurt a female in any way, shape or form, rest assured I will feel it and I will come to your house or wherever you are and blow your brains out.”
Mr Richardson added that Burchall had said in a social inquiry report interview that she had gone through years of psychological, physical and emotional abuse, and believed Mr Worrell would use the courts to protect himself.
He told the court: “He is still using the system to beat her because she stood up for herself.”
Mr Richardson accepted that the starting sentence for death threat cases would be a year but, in the circumstances, a non-custodial sentence would be appropriate.
He added he was prepared to take the case to a Newton hearing — where evidence is called to determine the severity of an offence — if the court needed more details on the context.
But Puisne Judge Craig Attridge said a Newton hearing was not needed because there was no significant dispute between the facts outlined by the Crown and those of the defence.
Burchall said she was regretted her actions and asked the court not to send her to prison.
Mr Justice Attridge said he considered the background of alleged abuse, but that the offences were serious and a deterrent sentence was required.
He sentenced Burchall to 12 months in prison for the three murder-threat offences and to three months each on the counts of improper use of public communications, but ordered them to run concurrently.
He added that, because of the circumstances surrounding the charges, he would suspend the sentence for a year.
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