Bragging thug hired as muscle to collect drug debt humiliated in court

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Two yobs blackmailed an innocent mother into giving them thousands of pounds to pay off some of her ex’s drug debt.

But one of the thugs – Christopher Swift – was embarrassed on Wednesday by a judge in court, who blasted his behaviour and boastful attitude. 

Swift, 30, and his accomplice Sebastian Jones, 35, were met by the victim’s young son when they banged on her front door.

The victim managed to get her children upstairs before Swift launched into an “aggressive” tirade, in which he said: “I’m from Salford, mate.”

But Judge Mark Savill, sitting at Minshull Street Crown Court, said: “I’m sorry to say this, but what was he thinking? We don’t live in a lawless society. He is not a gangster.”

Swift and Jones were jailed for 27 months and 24 months respectively, Manchester Evening News reports.

The judge added: “Mr Swift, you have been in trouble almost all of your life. You have a family. You have a child. You have certain mental health issues. But you can’t stay clear of trouble.”

The court had heard the victim was intimidated into paying cash towards her former partner’s drug debt on October 7 last year.

In what the judge called a “frightening incident”, Jones acted as an “intermediary” to his “associates” and was tasked with collecting £15,000.

Jones remained “silent” throughout the ordeal and hired Swift to “be the muscle” at the address.

David Lees, prosecuting, said the pair knocked on the victim’s door at around 5pm. The woman’s 12-year-old son answered. Knowing why they were there, the victim sent her three children and father upstairs.

Swift, of Salford, Greater Manchester, then threatened her, telling he he had “put the windows through” the wrong house before and didn’t want to do the same to hers “because [she has] children”.

He then told her: “I’m from Salford, mate. I’m not from round here. I’ll go to his [her ex-partner’s] mother’s house and blow her f***ing head off.”

Mr Lees told the court the victim was “worried for herself and her family” following the threats, and scraped together £1,000 of her own money, and £2,000 of her father’s money, and put it through Jones’ letterbox, before reporting the incident to the police.

Defending Swift, Adam Watkins said he had shown “evidence of remorse”. 

Jones, of Oldham, Greater Manchester, had been “hardworking” since 2015, his lawyer Keith Harrison said. Mr Harrison said it was “obviously a serious case”, but that Jones had ‘said nothing’ and “did nothing aggressive during the encounter”.

Both defendants pleaded guilty to blackmail.

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