THREE yobs who threatened to bomb a Subway sandwich shop and kill the owner’s pregnant wife and son could escape jail after being given an 11th-hour reprieve.
The trio, who made 21 threatening calls to Joseph Reno, which included swearing at him, racially abusing him and asking for money during their two-month campaign of abuse, said it was because they were “bored” and thought it was “funny”.
Stephanie Copperwheat and Jordan Stubbings, both of Tate Close, Laindon, and Sean Gaynor of Westfield, Laindon, were jailed for four months each.
But after dramatic court scenes, during which their defence solicitor raised mental health concerns and other issues as Copperwheat broke down in the dock, the 20-yearolds were immediately bailed while they appealed the sentence.
Judge David Owen-Jones criticised the handling of the case and said he could not decide on the appeal without a full written pre-sentence report.
The report helps the court decide the best punishment by looking at the offender’s history and issues and victim impact.
He said: “Clearly, the probation officer takes the view there are issues.
“It is quite wrong in a case of this kind, which is a terribly serious case with appellants of good character, where an appeal is in progress and without being prepared, it is not right for us to do it.
“Justice has to be seen to be done.”
He was not satisfied with the verbal report a probation officer had given at the previous hearing.
The two male defendants shook their heads as he adjourned the case for all three to be interviewed by a probation officer.
Prosecutor Martin Mulgrew, who opened his case against the three accused, said there were many aggravating features.
They included the gravity of the threats made, the fact an innocent person had been wrongly arrested for the crime, and the effect they had on the victim.
He said: “He says it has caused his wife and him a great deal of stress.
“During this time, the wife was pregnant and the stress caused her to be ill during her pregnancy.
“It has also financially hurt him as he has employed more staff, so he is not the only member of staff late in the evening.”
The case has been adjourned until September 19.