Heartless bully who blackmailed his vulnerable neighbour and threatened to hurt him unless he handed over savings convicted

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Steanson and Smith have been remanded in custody until they are sentenced later this year

A heartless bully who blackmailed his vulnerable neighbour and threatened to hurt him unless he handed over his savings has been convicted.

Scott Steanson left his victim terrified after repeatedly turning up at his door uninvited and demanding money.

On one occasion, Steanson and accomplice Liam Smith savagely attacked the man, punching him in the face and biting his ear, before ordering him to withdraw cash.

Fearing of the repercussions, the victim – a male in his 50s – kept quiet until a concerned friend noticed his injuries in January this year and asked what was wrong.

Now Steanson, 33, faces a custodial term after admitting eight counts of blackmail and one of assault at Newcastle Crown Court.

Smith, 28, also pleaded guilty to one count of assault.

Detective Constable Mark Turnbull, who led the investigation, said: “Steanson’s prolonged and persistent targeting of a vulnerable neighbour is hard to fathom.

“His actions over the space of 12 months have been nothing short of abhorrent. He bullied his victim and believed he would be too scared to report it, due to his threats of violence.

“As a Force, protecting the most vulnerable in our communities is our upmost priority and nobody should be targeted like this in their own home.

“As soon as we were made aware, a full investigation was launched and I am delighted that Steanson and Smith have now been convicted of their crimes. They have each been remanded in custody until they are due to be sentenced.

“I would like to pay tribute to the victim in this case for his outstanding bravery, as well as the key witnesses who came forward and helped secure this conviction.

“They should be incredibly proud of the role they played in helping to bring these two thugs to justice – and I hope this outcome can offer the victim some closure following this painful ordeal.”

Det Con Turnbull added: “Over the last 18 months, we have seen some incredible acts of kindness and community spirit in the North East.

“Please continue to look out for those in your community – and in turn, we will continue to take robust action against the minority who target others for purely selfish means.” 

Steanson and Smith, both of Gateshead, are due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on September 13.​