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17 April 2019, 11:27 | Updated: 17 April 2019, 11:29
A former special constable with Leicestershire Police who was spared jail after threatening to burn down a family's house as part of a campaign of "mental torture" has been locked up by senior judges.
Shahib Asan, 23, issued a series of chilling threats in letters and text messages to former family friends over several months.
He was also caught on CCTV throwing paint stripper over a car belonging to one of the victims.
Asan, of Saltersgate Drive, Birstall, was handed a suspended sentence at Leicester Crown Court in February for offences including criminal damage, harassment and perverting the course of justice.
But he was jailed for four years and nine months on Tuesday by Court of Appeal judges, who said the original sentence was "unduly lenient".
Lady Justice Sharp, sitting with two other judges, said it was "difficult to comprehend" how the Crown Court judge reached the conclusion the sentence could be suspended.
She said: "In our view these (offences) merited a custodial sentence of some length, as they were serious, persistent, sophisticated and caused grave harm to the victims."
The judge added: "The offender had deliberately subjected this family to a degree of mental torture over a prolonged period of time, including threats of violence."
At the time of the offences, Asan was a student and a special constable with Leicestershire Police.
The court heard that, between August 2016 and August 2018, he committed a string of offences targeting the family.
These included sending messages threatening to stab them, to shoot one of them and to burn down their house.
When police investigated, he claimed the messages were sent by someone who hacked his computer and was attempting to frame him.
Lady Justice Sharp said Asan continued to offend while on bail for the first set of offences, sending further threatening and abusive messages to a member of the family.
He was found guilty of harassment in February and had previously admitted criminal damage, harassment and two counts of perverting the course of justice.
Asan also pleaded guilty to possessing a weapon for the discharge of a noxious liquid, relating to a Captor spray he had illegally taken from Leicestershire Police, at an earlier hearing.
His sentence was referred to the Court of Appeal by Solicitor General Robert Buckland under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Buckland said: "The original sentence handed down was, in my view, unduly lenient.
"I hope the offender's immediate imprisonment gives some comfort to the family who were harassed and lived under the threat of violence for a sustained period."