Bamber Bridge man terrified woman with death threats saying: " You'll be known as the next Rosie Darbyshire"

A man with schizophrenia sent death threats and lewd images to a former work colleague.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 3:35 pm

Andrew Higginson, 29, of Gough Lane, Bamber Bridge, started to send the woman messages after meeting her during the course of their work in 2015, Preston Crown Court was told.

The court heard his auditory and visual hallucinations had made him believe she would not 'leave him alone'.

Prosecuting, Alison Whalley said the complainant and defendant worked together between June 2015 and December 2016 and that they had not been in an intimate relationship.

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Defendant is being treated in Guild Lodge, Preston

She added: "She would say they are not even friends.

"The last message she sent him was in August 2017.

"The defendant is known to have mental health difficulties.

"The complainant last heard from him in 2019 when he sent messages threatening to kill her, which she reported to the police, but matters were not taken further."

But on August 12, 2020, Higginson sent the victim threats via Facebook Messenger.

She added: " These were extremely graphic and detailed in nature, and caused her to suffer from panic attacks.

Higginson wrote: "You have exactly one week to leave me alone or I'm going to put you in an early grave" and "Six days left my sweet".

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He also chillingly wrote: "They will be calling you the next Rosie Darbyshire" - a reference to a 27-year-old Preston mum murdered in the street by her violent partner in 2019.

Higginson then sent the woman pictures of his genitals and a video of himself performing a sexual act.

When arrested, he told police he had schizophrenia and that although he took medication, he did not think it was working.

Miss Whalley added: " I don't undermine the impact his offending has had, but because of the hallucinations, as a result of his mental disorder, he's simply begging him to leave her alone.

"He does accede however he had planned to carry out the threat and contemplated killing her with a hammer and a knife, and going to work to wait for her, and had also contemplated going to jail."

In a victim statement the woman said she has been left scared whenever she has to go to places, has stopped going to some areas of Preston she associates with him, and is seeking counselling.

Higginson, who is of previous good character, pleaded guilty to making threats to kill.

Defending, Brendan O'Leary suggested he did not pose a significant risk to members of the public.

Higginson is currently being treated in Guild Lodge psychiatric hospital, Judge Philip Parry imposed a hospital order under section 37 of the Mental Health Act to enable that to continue.

The Crown Court or Magistrates' Court can decide a hospital order is the most suitable method of dealing with a case if the defendant is convicted of an offence which could lead to a prison sentence, and two doctors have given evidence the person has a mental disorder that means they should be in hospital for treatment.

It lasts six months initially, and must be extended by a clinician if needed after six months.

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