A SOUTHAMPTON man threatened to burn down his employers’ house with his children inside.

Robert Doughty also admitted threatening to “put an axe straight through the head” of his employer who he was on a trial work day for.

They were among a string of terrifying messages sent by Doughty from his mobile phone.

He was given a 12-month community order and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Southampton Magistrates court heard how the 39-year-old, who was out of work, responded to an online advert looking for work from Carlin Brown Removals.

Doughty responded to the advert and went to work for the Bournemouth-based removals firm on April 30, but left at 2pm.

The employer then proceeded to message Doughty about why he had left, and said that if the company T-shirt was returned, that he would be paid for the work carried out.

The court heard that claiming he had no petrol and no money to get to Bournemouth, Doughty then threatened to burn down the employers’ house in a series of calls and messages.

Prosecuting, Natalie Angel told the court how Doughty had threatened to ‘put an axe straight through the head’ of his employer.

Over the course of three phone calls, he also asked the victim if he had ‘said goodbye to his family’ before he went to sleep.

One message, sent by Doughty, of Oak Road, Woolston, to the victim, read: “I’m going to drive straight through the front of your brand new house if you don’t pay up.”

Another message said: “You’re dead and so is your whole family.”

Replying to Doughty’s threat of setting fire to his home, the victim sent back: “Come on, there’s no need to say that you’re going to burn my house down.

“The day you left I explained to you I would settle up if you return my shirt.”

Doughty pleaded guilty to one count of sending calls or messages that would cause distress and anxiety and one count of sending calls or messages that were of an indecent or offensive nature.

Defence solicitor Susan Rich told the court that the defendant had been out of work for three weeks and that his family didn’t have electricity.

After being told he wouldn’t be paid and unable to return the shirt to the employer, he “lost his temper”.

The court was also told that Doughty was ‘ashamed’ of his actions.

After sentencing presiding, District Judge Anthony Calloway told the defendant to “leave, and never come back”.