Tas man jailed for neighbour death threat

·2-min read

A Tasmanian man threatened to put his neighbour "under the ground" like he'd done to a missing person and pointed an apparent gun at his house after their friendship turned sour.

Garry John Clarke, 53, was sentenced to nine months' jail after pleading guilty to aggravated assault over what Supreme Court Justice Tamara Jago described as "most spiteful behaviour".

Clarke had been on good terms with his neighbour until about a month before the incident on August 8, 2020.

He arrived at the house holding a "long, thin, object" covered by a white sheet and yelled "this is what you're f***ing gunna get ... I'm going to f***ing shoot you".

Clarke was subsequently arrested by police and conceded he made the object look like a gun.

He had been injured by his neighbour's dog a day prior, prompting him to send a series of threatening early morning text messages and a picture of a gun.

"You said things like ... 'I will blow your windows out when your daughter is not there' (and) 'I told you, you're going under the ground where we put Lester Lee'," Justice Jago wrote in sentencing remarks.

"This last comment was a reference to a local person who was missing and presumed dead."

Clarke's behaviour caused significant emotional harm to the neighbour and his daughter, who was home at the time.

"I accept that you were badly injured as a consequence of that altercation (with the dog), you ruminated on it and foolishly decided to act as you did," Justice Jago said.

"You took the time to send the text messages and picture of the firearm so as to ensure the complainant was primed to believe the object you pointed at his residence was a firearm."

Six months of Clarke's sentence was suspended for 18 months on the condition he doesn't commit a crime punishable by imprisonment.

"I am told that since this incident, you and the complainant have resolved the issues. You continue to live in neighbouring properties but your relationship is now quite amicable," Justice Jago said.

Clarke has previously appeared seven times before courts for violence-related matters, including assaulting a pregnant woman.

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