A drug addict is who subjected his mum to a 20-year campaign of terror has been jailed.
Christopher Swaine, 40, was said by mum Francesca Swaine to have been ‘lovely’ but after he started taking drugs in his teens he repeatedly threatened and hounded her for cash to feed his habit.
The construction worker was arrested after he turned up at his former family home in Wythenshawe, held a TV above his head and threatened to hurt it at 65-year-old Mrs Swaine unless she gave him money.
His older brother Jonathan – who is blind and suffers from other disabilities – offered him £3 but when Swaine refused, their mother handed her younger son £20 from her purse to make him leave.
In a statement Mrs Swaine, who suffers from arthritis, said she had to barricade herself in her own home in Wythenshawe and sleep on the sofa for fear her son would break in and hurt her.
At Manchester Crown Court, Swaine, of Bucklow Drive, Northenden, put his head in his hands and wept as his mother said: ”After all that has happened I have to go through the extreme of propping up a chair against the handle of the front door to barricade myself in at home as Christopher has shown is so willing to kick it down.
“I still have his footprint on my door from previous occasions when he has done exactly this to get into my home.
”I’ve had to change the locks to my house and have to sleep downstairs so that if the chair falls over, I will hear it and be able to ring the police.
”I stayed at a friends for a few days after the last incident but I’m aware she has grandchildren who stay with her and I am worried about bringing trouble to her door in case Christopher knows where she lives.
”I fear one day something really bad is going to happen. I shouldn’t have to be sleeping on the sofa as it affects my arthritis. This is my son who is abusing me and it’s him who should be looking after me in my later years – not demanding money off me to spend on the drugs which make him so unpredictable.
”I’ve given Christopher so much money over the years just to have an easier life but what life would I have if I were to refuse? I don’t have many other relatives and I have considered moving away.”
Swaine admitted robbery and criminal damage and was jailed for three years and months.
He was also barred from contacting his mother for 10 years under the terms of a restraining order.
The court heard the raid occurred on September 28 last year whilst the victim was at home with Jonathan.
Duncan Wilcock prosecuting said: ”Mrs Swaine said her son began smoking cannabis in his late teens and by the age of 20 he began to become aggressive with her, wanting money to pay off his drug debts.
”He was diagnosed as having a personality disorder 10 years later and takes medication for that and she described him as being lovely when not on the drugs – but a monster when on them.
”In this latest incident he went to her address, demanded money and when she said no, he replied: ‘I know you’ve got money, I’m going to steal it from you’.
”He then unplugged the television, held it above his head and said ‘I’m going to throw this at you’. At that point Jonathan was in the kitchen and told his brother to stop and said he would give him three pounds.
“The defendant said he didn’t want Jonathan’s money and that he wanted him mum’s money.
”At that point fearing he would follow through with his threat to throw the TV, Mrs Swaine handed over £20 and some tobacco as she felt there was no other way out of this situation.
”The defendant then left the property. She went to stay at a friend’s but over the following days she received texts messages which became irate and abusive.
“She was at that address when the defendant appeared last at night and began to shout ‘Mum You’d better come outside now – get my mum out here now’ and banging in the window. He then kicked at the door whilst children, Mrs Swaine and her friend hid inside the property.”
Jonathan said in a statement: ”I’m very scared of my brother and I am worried he will hurt my mother given the chance because of his abuse of drugs and alcohol. He’s a totally different man when sober but he’s not been sober for a very long time. I fear he will kill us all.”
Neighbor and family friend Gracie McLeod said: ”I’m frightened of Christopher and I know what he is capable of. If he’s capable of doing this to his own mum, I dread to think what he could do to me.
”He’s not the Christopher I used to know since he’s been on drugs and I want nothing more to do with him. He’s a danger to me, my family and the wider community.
”He’s very manipulative and if nothing was done about him this time, he would have carried on. Knowing he is in prison gives us peace of mind but I’m paranoid about him coming back and hurting me. Christopher knows he has power and he needs something doing about it.”
Swaine had previous convictions for robbery, burglary, criminal damage, racially aggravated public disorder and assault and had been made subject of a Criminal Behavior Order. In 2016 he was jailed for 42 months for drug dealing and he was in breach of a suspended sentence for spitting at police.
Richard Vardon, defending, said: ”Since his arrest he has been abstinent from alcohol and drugs and hopefully he can turn his life round.
”His demeanor during this hearing has been to hold his head – as he should do – in shame. The offenses emerged from a chaotic lifestyle. In his own words he was ‘rattling’ as he had no money to finance drugs and saw his mum as a soft touch. He loves his mother dearly and is genuinely ashamed.”
Sentencing Judge Hilary Manley told Swaine: ”The effect on your mother has been profound. She feels you will stop at nothing to extract money from her and she does n’t sleep at night and she is frightened you will kill her.
“She is scared to be in her own home. She is entitled to expect to be looked after by her son – not be a victim of his violence and threatening behaviour.
”When sober and clean of drugs, you are totally different person. It is hoped that at age 40 you can see this is a turning point and that you make the efforts you have to make yourself as a grown adult to ensure a future in which your mother is troubled no more by your behaviour.
”Should in the future you become the person your family say are when not in throes of addiction and should your mother decide she wishes to have contact with you, that will be for her to make that choice – not you.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.