Pensioner Nellie Hardy has forgiven the grandson who blackmailed her into handing over cash when he threatened to slash himself with a knife.
A judge released David Michael Spencer so he can be reunited with his 87-year-old grandmother, telling him: “You owe a significant debt for the support you have received from your family.”
Doncaster Crown Court heard how being locked up on remand for six months on a charge of blackmail had been a life-changing experience for Spencer, who was addicted to drugs.
Spencer, aged 32, of Wrightson Terrace, Bentley, pleaded guilty to blackmail and was given a three-year community order with a condition that he attends drug rehabilitation for nine months.
Prosecutor Kenneth Green said Mrs Hardy was at her home in Middlegate, Scawthorpe, last August when her grandson turned up and began banging on the door loudly, shouting: “Let me in, I need some money.”
“This was quite a common event and Mrs Hardy tried to ignore him but became frightened, believing that if she didn’t let him in she would be embarrassed about what her neighbours would think about the commotion,” said Mr Green.
She let him in and he was aggressive towards her, demanding as much money as she had got because he owed somebody.
Then he produced a knife and said he would cut himself, running the blade across his stomach and showing Mrs Hardy his arm which was already cut.
“Mrs Hardy was frightened and didn’t want him to harm himself any more so gave him £20. It didn’t satisfy him and he continued to wave his arms about so she gave him a further £20. As soon as he left she locked the door,” said Mr Green.
Her family called police and he was arrested nearby but claimed the money was a loan from her.
Defence solicitor Ged Hale said Spencer was very sorry and ashamed about his conduct after he had consumed four litres of cider and taken drugs.
“He feels the progress he has made in custody is a life-changing event and his gran says she can’t wait to see him. He has put the past behind him.”