Brute who threatened to slash guard and assaulted shop worker jailed

A brute has been jailed for threatening Sunderland city centre retail staff – and assaulting one – during intimidating encounters over 11 days.

Shaven-headed Colin Pearson, 40, warned a guard at The Bridges centre when asked to leave on Thursday, September 17, “I’ll take you for a straightener”.

And the serial criminal, who had been barred and was holding a vodka bottle, chillingly adding: “I’ll come back for you and I’ll f****** slash you up”.

In incidents over the course of around an hour on Saturday, September 26, he went from shop to shop, harassing and threatening workers.

At his worst, Pearson told a Sports Direct employee he would “kick his head in”, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

But he also warned two Marks and Spencer employees who followed him out their store, “I’ll throw you through the window”.

The following day, he made threats against a second Sports Direct employee and assaulted him by pushing him in the back.

Pearson is now starting 26 weeks behind bars after admitting one assault and six threats of unlawful violence – and being re-sentenced for other recent crimes.

Of the first incident, prosecutor Ansab Shan said: “A staff member in The Bridges was aware the defendant was excluded. He asked him to leave.

“Mr Pearson initially asked if he could use the toilet, but as soon as he came out, he was aggressive and argumentative.

“He attempted to drink from a bottle of vodka. He said, ‘I’ll take you for a straightener”. He then asked him out for a fight.

“He said, ‘I’ll come back for you and I’ll f****** slash you up’.”

The next day, Pearson went to Sports Direct’s nearby High Street West branch, again in breach of being barred.

He threatened to boot an employee in the head – and ten minutes later, appeared at a Marks and Spencer’s outlet in the same street.

Mr Shan added: “Staff members have followed the defendant out of the store. The defendant made threats.

“He said, ‘You’d better watch out or I’ll come to your house’. He added, ‘I’ll throw you through the window’.”

Thirty minutes later, Pearson, of Tatham Street, near Sunderland city centre, walked into The Bridges, where he was verbally abusive to a security guard.

When staff backup arrived, Pearson said, “I’ll find out where you live, I’ll pay you a visit”.

His last act was to assault a Sport Direct worker the next day, on Sunday, September 27.

Mr Shan said: “At 2.30pm the defendant is in the store. He had been asked to leave, he swore.

“He has made threats to ‘rip his head off’. He has reached out with his arm to try to put his hand behind his neck. The employee has moved away.”

The court heard Pearson has a record of 119 offences, including being jailed twice last year for crimes which included an emergency worker assault.

Greg Flaxen, defending, said of the Sports Direct assault: “He accepts he’s put an arm on him. They’ve then fist pumped each other.

“Mr Pearson, as you can see from his stature, if he used any language, the fear would be significant.

“Each matter is quick, he’s not using violence whatsoever. The shop staff know Mr Pearson.”

Pearson was jailed for 10 weeks for the assault on the Sports Direct employee, to whom he must pay £100 compensation.

And he was imprisoned for two weeks for each of the six unlawful violence threats, with the first two weeks to run consecutively and the rest concurrently.

Magistrates also re-sentenced him for two assaults and a theft committed on December 12, 2019, and for three assaults on April 2 and April 3, 2020.

For each of the six crimes, he was given seven-week jail terms, with the theft sentence to run consecutively and the rest concurrently.

Mr Flaxen told magistrates he planned to appeal the sentence.

They rejected his application for Pearson to be freed while the appeal launches.

Chronicle Live – Sunderland