A CIRENCESTER man phoned his estranged wife and threatened to kill her whole family unless she paid him £50,000 from the sale of their marital home, a court heard today.

Mark Stephenson, 48, of Cotswold Country Park and Beach, Shorncote, Cirencester, pleaded guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court to making a threatening electronic communication to his estranged wife on September 23 at Pips Field Way, Fairford.

Prosecuting layer Graham Dono told District Judge Joti Bopa-Rai that after a 27 year relationship the couple had split up.

“The defendant phoned up his estranged wife and demanded £50,000 by the end of the day,” said Mr Dono.

“The home had been sold and he told her that unless she paid him his share he would kill her family to get to her.”

The court heard that in the phone call, which the sister of Stephenson's estranged wife recorded, the defendant said he was not concerned about going to jail.

“I’ll end up killing all of your family, he said,” Mr Dono told the court.

Stephenson was arrested for making a malicious communication and in police interview he said that he had been ripped off as he had been paying the mortgage.

The defendant, who was not legally represented, said: “We are married and had been together for 27 years.

“I am bi-polar and had forgotten to take my medication on that day – the threats were idle threats and I was just angry.

“I understand that I have upset everyone and I don’t want the money now.”

The district judge imposed an 18-month community order, fined Stephenson £50 and ordered him to pay £85 prosecution costs.

The defendant was also made the subject of a five-year restraining order not to contact his estranged wife and her sister.