Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 17:45 UK

Judge jails death threat killer


Mr Justice Openshaw told the jury he was not worried

A judge has jailed a murderer who 24 hours earlier had threatened to escape custody and kill him.

Judge Peter Openshaw sentenced Daniel Breaks, 48, of Allerton, Liverpool, to life in prison for the murder of his sister's boyfriend Simon Sutton.

Breaks, who had denied murder, made his threat as he was convicted by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday.

The judge's father, William Openshaw, was stabbed to death in 1981 by a man he sent to borstal 13 years earlier.

Breaks, of Hallville Road, Allerton, killed Mr Sutton with a pool cue at the home he shared with Gwyneth Breaks in Birkenhead, Wirral, in April 2007.

Liverpool Crown Court heard he suspected the 40-year-old had informed police about an alleged attempt to blackmail a bank.

Daniel Breaks
I will escape prison and I will kill you
Daniel Breaks

Breaks told his sister and her teenage sons he would "blowtorch and kill them" if they called the police or an ambulance.

Before dumping the body in an alley, the killer invited his mother and friends to the house to show them the corpse, telling them: "That is what happens to grasses."

Breaks, who has more than 360 convictions, then fled to the home of retired probation officer Charles Heaps, 67, in Chester-le-Street, County Durham.

Mr Heaps and his wife Joy, 62, had befriended Breaks when he served a 14-year jail term in Durham, but he kidnapped them at knifepoint and forced them to drive him to London.

After his arrest Breaks blamed his sister and girlfriend for murdering Mr Sutton, before changing his story to blame two Liverpool criminals he refused to name.

He denied murder, kidnap and conspiracy to blackmail. The jury cleared Breaks of the conspiracy charge but found him guilty of murder and kidnap.

Judge murder

After the verdicts were read out on Monday he accused Mr Justice Openshaw of "suppressing the truth" and said: "I will escape prison and I will kill you."

As members of the jury gasped in shock, Mr Justice Openshaw, who is from Lancashire, said to them: "I very much doubt he'll have the chance."

Mr Justice Openshaw described Breaks' story as "absurd" and told him he would not be eligible for parole for 30 years - when he will be 78.

Speaking afterwards, Det Supt Dave Kelly, who led the investigation, said: "I am delighted with the verdict and with the sentence today and delighted for the families who have been severely impacted by the actions of one member."

Breaks' threat echoed the case of the judge's father who was stabbed 12 times in the head, neck and back by a man he sentenced for stealing.

John Smith was locked up for 18 months when he was 17 but waited until he was 31 before attacking William Openshaw.

He hid in the garage of his home in Broughton, near Preston, Lancashire, before launching the knife attack.

Man convicted of pool cue murder
07 Jul 08 |  Merseyside
Jury out in boyfriend murder plot
07 Jul 08 |  Merseyside
Man 'killed for informing police'
30 Jun 08 |  Merseyside
Man 'beaten to death with a cue'
09 Jun 08 |  Merseyside

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