A man who had “developed feelings” for a long-standing friend became upset when he saw her with another man.

Blackburn magistrates heard two days later Anthony Young sent threatening messages to the woman and her daughter on September 10.

He then turned up at her home and said he would return with a bottle of petrol.

Young, 47, of Grange Road, Whitworth, pleaded guilty to threatening to damage the victim’s house by burning it down, and harassing the woman by leaving threatening voicemails and attending at her address.

He was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, with 15 days rehabilitation activity requirement and six months alcohol treatment requirement.

He was ordered to pay £300 compensation to the victim and made subject to a restraining order for two years.

District Judge Alexandra Preston said after a long friendship with the victim Young had turned against her and behaved in a frightening and abusive way.

“She honestly believed you were capable of carrying out the threats you made,” she said.

Nicola Mills, prosecuting, said Young and the aggrieved had been friends for 15 years and she had tried to help him overcome his alcohol addiction.

“The relationship had never been intimate but it became obvious that he had feelings for her,” said Miss Mills.

“She told him that was not on and broke away from him.”

Two days before the messages and the home visit Young saw the victim with another man.

In the messages he threatened to burn her house down and said he had wasted 10 years of his life,” said Miss Mills.

“Initially she called an ambulance because she wanted to help him and didn’t call the police because she didn’t want to get him in trouble.

“He then turned up at her home and made the comment about returning with a bottle of petrol and the police were called.”

Nick Cassidy, mitigating, said his client would accept any help on offer and the pre-sentence report suggested the Probation Service believed they could work with him.

“He has no need to contact the woman or her daughter again and I have no instructions to oppose a restraining order,” said Mr Cassidy.