A depressed dad-of-three broke into his ex-partner’s home, turned on all four gas rings and terrifyingly threatened to blow up the mid-terraced premises.

Tony Gath, who was armed with at least one knife, repeated the threats after police and his partner arrived at the scene in Darlington Street in Wallasey on February 28 this year.

Consequently the area was cordoned off by police, and firefighters and paramedics stayed at the scene during a three hour siege before the 38-year-old came out and gave himself up.

Jailing him for a total of two and a half years today (May 18) Judge Thomas Teague, QC, said the incident involved “an out pouring of self pity” by him.

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He told the police officers that he had lost his kids, had nothing to lose and told them to stay back or he would stab them and repeated his threats to blow the house up.

“It was a display of immature self-centred behaviour,” said Judge Teague.

He said he accepted Gath was suffering from depression and anxiety after the breakdown of his 13-year-relationship with his partner, the mother of his three children, and has limited understanding of his harmful conduct and continues to blame her.

However he said that his behaviour had been “completely self-centred even allowing for the emotional difficulties he was going through at the time.”

The judge pointed out that his victim’s home was a mid-terrace property and if he had carried out his threat would have placed many other people at “obvious and serious risk.”

Gath, of Devonshire Road, Birkenhead, who has previous convictions including grievous bodily harm, had pleaded guilty to threatening to cause criminal damage and affray.

Michael Stephenson, prosecuting, had told Liverpool Crown Court that Gath and his partner, Kirsty Wheldon broke up in July 2018 but kept in contact. Tensions arose after their separation and they tried a reunion in early 2020 but it only lasted a week.

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On February 28 she went to his home so they could go shopping before he collected their boys from school to have them for the weekend.

“She arrived about 9.30 am. He had been out overnight and got in about 7am. He had been drinking and she found him in the bath when she arrived. He was hostile from the outset, asking, ‘What the f…do you want?’. He continued in the same vein until she left.”

While she was out shopping she received hostile texts from him and at 11.10am he said he was going to her home and was “going to blow it up.”

Half an hour later he rang asking her to guess where he was and said he was in her kitchen and had turned the gas on and was going to blow the house up.

He had got in by smashing a window by the front door which was witnessed by a neighbour who called the police and by the time Ms Wheldon arrived officers were already there. He had turned on all four gas rings on the cooker.

“Three windows had been broken and there was a strong smell of gas coming from the house.”

Mr Stephenson said that Gath had damaged a television set and furniture and left stab barks in the hallway. Officers saw he had a knife and one officer saw him with two knives. “He told them, “I have lost my kids, I have nothing to lose, stay back or I’ll stab you.’

“He repeated his threats to blow up the house and that he intended to die.”

His hostility was directed towards Ms Wheldon and wanted to deprive her of her possessions, said Mr Stephenson.

A police cordon was set up with adjoining premises evacuate and fire and ambulance crews were attendance as well as a police negotiator and negotiations then took place over two and a half hours. He eventually gave himself up.

When interviewed he said he believed the property was solidly built and if he had lit the case the neighbours would have been all right as would police if they kept back. “He explained he threatened officers with a knife in order to keep them away from the property.

“He also said although he had had mental health issues in the past he had always managed to talk himself down in the past but not on this occasion.”

Phil Astbury, defending, said that Gath, “was struggling to come to terms with the breakdown of a long term relationship.”

He said it did not excuse his behaviour “but perhaps explained why he was not thinking rationally.”

Gath was suffering from severe depression and anxiety as shown in medical notes. He took his responsibility for his children seriously and is now considering counselling, said Mr Astbury.