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2 May 2017, 16:25
The former agent of footballer Andy Carroll has avoided jail, after admitting harassing his ex-wife.
Peter Harrison, who was dropped by the striker before his £35 million move from Newcastle to Liverpool, burst into his wife's house in Gateshead and slashed her sofa with a 10-inch knife while their children locked themselves in a bedroom.
The 57-year-old ignored a police warning not to contact his wife Wendy after sending her threatening messages following the breakdown of their relationship.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that, having pushed past his son at the family home, he grabbed a kitchen knife and began to stab the sofa saying she loved it more than him.
This forced his son and daughter to barricade themselves in a bedroom through fear of what he would do.
The court heard some of the messages he had sent to his wife in the lead-up to the incident included threats to burn down the house and to have them kicked out.
Judge Stephen Earl said:
"I have seen the level of damage you caused in the house. You felt she loved those inanimate things more than you so it was your way of taking out your frustrations on something. The level of fear that it caused is incalculable. The one place someone is entitled to feel most safe is in their own home which is why this case does cross the custodial threshold.''
But Judge Earl opted to suspend the nine-month sentence for 18 months after Harrison admitted one charge of harassment, after hearing of his remorse since the incident in July last year.
The court heard he now works as a consultant selling his European football expertise to developing clubs in China and the Middle East.
He previously appeared on the Panorama investigation into football in 2006, when the programme claimed he had paid bungs to managers. He was also taken to the High Court in 2007 by former England manager Sam Allardyce following the non-payment of a loan.
Duncan Jones, defending, said Harrison regretted what had happened and accepted it was "totally irrational''.
"He's 57 years old and has been out of trouble for over 20 years. He recognises now that his wife was unhappy but he had not appreciated at that the time that she was unhappy. There had never been any violence or disagreements for 23 years. It was a very sudden change to his circumstances which he struggled to cope with. He has accepted the relationship is over and there will be no repeat of the incident. He has a very low risk of re-offending.''
The court heard he had two previous convictions, one for causing criminal damage in 1993 and one for assault in 1997.
Judge Earl placed an indefinite restraining order on Harrison regarding his wife, and ordered him to complete 175 hours of community service and pay £490 in costs.