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Faces of 44 North East criminals locked up in April 2024

These criminals were responsible for some horrendous crimes – and earned jail time for their actions.

We have rounded-up all the court cases covered by ChronicleLive in April 2024 where the defendants were sent to prison. The offenders were locked up for offences including rape, assault, wounding and sexual offences.

There were also a number of cases involving drugs. In one, two men, including one from South Shields, were handed prison sentences after police found cocaine hidden inside blocks of cheese.

Around £17.2m worth of cocaine was seized when officers raided a unit in Blackburn last May and cut open blocks of gouda to uncover some of the class A drugs. Saleem Chaudhri was jailed for 27 and a half years after admitting conspiring to supply cocaine and money laundering.

Co-defendant Rieddul Mohabath, 28, of Dean Road, South Shields, was sentenced to 16 years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine. You can read more about this case below as well as others where defendants were given jail terms in April.

Kori Stewart

Kori Stewart, jailed for assault
Kori Stewart, jailed for assault
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A woman “felt like she was in a horror movie” as she was punched and stamped on by a violent thug just nine days after he was released from prison.

Kori Stewart was jailed for 32 months in December 2022 for offences including GBH on another woman. He had been released on licence but soon became violent again, on February 24 this year.

He was with the victim and another woman at a flat in Newcastle when he turned nasty, demanding tablets. Newcastle Crown Court heard he punched her twice to the face, knocking her to the ground, where he stamped on her head before punching her again.

She managed to escape and ran up the communal stairs of the flats. Police attended and took pictures of the victim’s bloodied face and there was also blood spatter at the scene.

Stewart, 19, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was locked up for 18 months. Here’s the full story.

Marius Rezmelita and Stefan Brinza

Marius Rezmelita
Marius Rezmelita
(Image: Northumbria Police)
Stefan Brinza
Stefan Brinza
(Image: Northumbria Police)

Two Romanian men who were found asleep in a campervan as an axe, a sword and knives lay around them in Sunderland were jailed.

Stefan Brinza, 29, and Marius Rezmelita, 42, were found sleeping in a campervan by police after a night of partying in October last year. When officers woke them up and searched the van, they discovered an axe, a sword and knives lying around in the vehicle.

At the time, both men were on police bail and were banned from associating with each other as they were under investigation for potential drug offences. Brinza, of Richardson Terrace, Washington, was sentenced for three counts of possession of an offensive weapon, an axe, a knife and a sword. Rezmelita, of Donnison Gardens, Hendon, Sunderland, was sentenced for two counts of possession of an offensive weapon, a claw knife and a folding knife.

Brinza was jailed for six months and Rezmelita was sent to prison for eight months. Read the full story here.

Andrew Snook

Andrew Snook
Andrew Snook
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A paedophile offered a young boy ice cream before committing a sexual offence against him.

Andrew Snook asked a young boy to come to his home and remove his clothes. The 56-year-old was caught later when the young boy told his mother what had happened. Snook, who has a history of sexual offending against boys, was jailed for the offence.

Snook, of Boldon Colliery, South Tyneside, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court to be sentenced for causing a child to engage in sexual activity. He had pleaded guilty the offence.

He was jailed for four years and 11 months. Here’s the full story.

Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley has been locked up for four years
Mark Bradley has been locked up for four years
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A robber threatened a man with a vacuum cleaner pipe after storming into his home in the middle of the night.

Mark Bradley, 19, burst into the victim’s flat in Wallsend with a number of others before brandishing the pipe like a baseball bat. Newcastle Crown Court heard how the victim, who has complex difficulties, then had his Xbox taken from him.

The court in Newcastle heard how Bradley went on to steal a car, which was being used as a mobility vehicle, and a work van, which was crashed while being pursued by police. John Crawford, prosecuting, said the victim was in bed with his partner when he heard a bang to the front door. He said a large group of seven or eight people, including Bradley and Kieron Lowrey, 21, barged into the flat.

He said those in the group, apart from Bradley, then 16, and Lowrey, then 18, then left the address. Mr Crawford said they told the victim that until they found the person they were looking for they were going to take his Xbox.

The prosecutor said: “He was threatened with a hoover pipe. He was told that if he grassed them up they would stab him.”

Bradley, of Biddlestone Crescent, North Shields, pleaded guilty to robbery, theft of a motor vehicle and aggravated vehicle taking. He was sentenced to four years in a young offenders institution.

Lowery, of Beaumaris Court, Longbenton, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to robbery. He was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years. Read the full story here.

James Leonard

James Leonard
James Leonard
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A brute strangled his partner during a terrifying attack after he’d spent a night taking drugs and drinking booze.

James Leonard turned violent after his then-partner realised he’d taken £450 of her cash which she’d stored beneath a photo frame. The 40-year-old continued his erratic behaviour by demanding her to drive him to Washington after attacking and strangling her.

The horrendous ordeal left the woman no longer feeling safe in the area where she grew up, and feels forced to move away. Leonard, of Ravenswood Road, Hylton Red House, Sunderland, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court to be sentenced. He had pleaded guilty to assault by beating, intentional strangulation, two counts of theft and two counts of damaging property.

Leonard was jailed for 18 months. Here’s the full court report.

Kieton Pearson

Kieton Pearson
Kieton Pearson
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A thief who embarked on a shoplifting spree just days after being released from prison is once again behind bars.

Kieton Pearson had been out of prison for four days before he began stealing from shops again, and would regularly steal in order to fund his drug addiction. The 25-year-old, who had 30 previous theft convictions, also breached restraining orders by entering a store he’d been banned from.

Pearson committed the series of thefts from stores across Houghton-le-Spring between February 11 and March 2 this year. He carried out the offences whilst serving a suspended prison sentence for an attempted robbery, which was imposed in July last year.

Pearson, of High Street, Easington Lane, Houghton-le-Spring, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court to be sentenced for two counts of breaching a restraining order, one attempted theft, and four thefts. He had pleaded guilty to the charges.

Judge Gavin Doig activated his 24-month suspended prison sentence. Here’s the full story.

Stacey McKane

Stacey McKane
Stacey McKane
(Image: Cleveland Police)

A woman was locked up for trying to take drugs into a prison.

Stacey McKane was at Holme House prison in Stockton on December 16, 2022, when she was seen taking out a package from her sleeve. She was approached by officers and found to have the drugs Pregablin and Buprenorphine.

At Newcastle Crown Court, McKane, 36, of Manisty House, Benwell, pleaded guilty to two offences of taking a prohibited article into prison. She was sentenced to three months in jail. Here’s the full story.

Richard Geary

Richard Geary
Richard Geary
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A thug who glassed a man in the face after his girlfriend pushed past him in a Bigg Market bar was jailed.

Richard Geary had been drinking in Filthy’s in Newcastle city centre when a woman pushed by him “with some force”. At that moment, Geary turned round and spotted the woman’s boyfriend. He then launched a vicious, unprovoked attack and glassed the man in the face with a handled pint glass.

Geary continued to hit the man with the jagged pint glass even after it had smashed, despite others in the busy bar attempting to hold him back. The attack left the victim – who was not fighting back – with a laceration to his head and a wound to his cheek and lip.

Geary, of Windsor Avenue, Gateshead, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court to be sentenced for section 18 wounding. The 35-year-old had pleaded guilty to the offence.

He was jailed for three years. Read the full court report here.

Christopher Forster

Christopher Forster
Christopher Forster
(Image: Durham Constabulary)

An “obsessive” arsonist who torched his ex-partner’s mother’s car in a “revenge attack” was jailed.

Christopher Forster was caught on CCTV pouring “accelerant” over the woman’s car and setting fire to it in the early hours of the morning. The 32-year-old committed the arson attack around two weeks after breaching a restraining order when he approached his ex-partner and children as they sat in a car.

Forster, of Keswick Road, Stanley, County Durham, appeared at Durham Crown Court to be sentenced for two counts of breaching a restraining order and arson. He had been found guilty of the arson offence and one of the breaches following a trial.

He was jailed for five years. Here’s the full story.

Peter Greenhill

Peter Greenhill, jailed for conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and amphetamine
Peter Greenhill, jailed for conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and amphetamine
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A salon owner who went back to his old ways as a drug dealer during lockdown was jailed for ten years.

Peter Greenhill, who served prison sentences in the past for conspiring to supply cocaine and MDMA, had turned his life around and was running three businesses in North Shields – a hairdressers and tanning and beauty salons. But when they were closed due to Covid in 2020, he resorted to illegal methods of making money.

His involvement in a large scale narcotics network was uncovered when French police infiltrated the EncroChat communications network, on which organised criminals believed they could conduct their unlawful enterprises with impunity. Messages showed he was engaged in multi-kilo deals of cocaine and amphetamine and was also involved in heroin supply.

Analysis showed he had been involved in deals for 1.8 kilos of cocaine, 85 kilos of amphetamine and half a kilo of heroin. Greenhill, 49, of Elmwood Park Court, Great Park, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply all three drugs. Read the full court report here.

Grant Findley

Grant Findley
Grant Findley
(Image: Durham Police)

Well-known businessman Grant Findley told a teenage girl he could be her “sugar daddy” as he groomed and abused her.

The former company boss targeted the underage girl repeatedly over a period of two months. A judge said Findley displayed a ‘profoundly cynical and manipulative pattern of behaviour’ in an attempt to have the ‘moral upper hand’ should she complain about his behaviour.

Findley, 42, of Stream Valley Farm in Burnhope, County Durham, was jailed for three years after a jury found him guilty of 10 counts of sexual activity with a child and one of meeting a child following sexual grooming. Read the full court report here.

Michael Gallagher

Michael Gallagher, jailed for wounding with intent
Michael Gallagher, jailed for wounding with intent
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A thug caused serious injuries to an associate by smacking him over the head with a whisky bottle he had stolen to celebrate getting a community order earlier that day.

Michael Gallagher decided to get inebriated because he was chuffed with the outcome of a court case in which he was sentenced for theft and public disorder. Having stolen a big bottle of whisky from a shop in South Shields, the shopkeeper told the victim, who challenged Gallagher about it.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the two men ended up arguing and squaring up because Gallagher would not admit his guilt and apologise. He then struck the other man over the head with the bottle, knocking him to the ground, where he then kicked him.

The 34-year-old, of Ridley Terrace, Heworth, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and possessing an offensive weapon. He was jailed for five-and-a-half years with an extended licence of a further three years. Here’s the full story.

Benjamin Hawkins

Benjamin Hawkins, jailed for sexual assault
Benjamin Hawkins, jailed for sexual assault
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A laughing sex attacker who groped a stranger at a city centre music festival was jailed.

Benjamin Hawkins grabbed the woman’s breast as he walked past her at a “Noughty 90s” event in Leazes Park, Newcastle. A court heard he appeared to find the sexual assault funny as he laughed as he walked off.

The victim and her friends kept him in sight and security and police were alerted, Newcastle Crown Court heard. Hawkins, who has previous for serious violence, kicked out at a police officer when confronted.

He was jailed for 14 months. Hawkins, 27, of Acton Place, Heaton, Newcastle, denied sexual assault but was convicted after a trial. He admitted assault on an emergency worker. Here’s the full story.

John Wright

John Wright who has been jailed
John Wright who has been jailed
(Image: Durham Police)

A mum told of the terrifying moment she realised her son had been stabbed as violence flared outside her home.

The woman feared her 24-year-old lad would be killed in the incident, which happened in Craghead, near Stanley in County Durham. And after John Wright was jailed for his role in the attack, the victim’s mum relived her terror.

The mum said: “I was thinking the worse. He’s not the same person he was. I think he knows how close he was that night to losing his life. He never goes out the house now.”

At Teesside Crown Court, Wright pleaded guilty to damaging property – a Ford Fiesta – violent disorder, possession of an offensive weapon – a baseball bat – and wounding with intent. The 39-year-old, of Fellside View, Burnhope, Durham, was jailed for three years for the offences. Read the full story here.

David McLaughlin

David McLaughlin, jailed for harassing his neighbour in Blyth
David McLaughlin, jailed for harassing his neighbour in Blyth
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A nightmare neighbour threatened to kill and “slice up” a terrified elderly woman in the flat above him during a campaign of harassment.

David McLaughlin targeted the gran for no apparent reason, regularly shouting foul-mouthed abuse and threats and leaving her “absolutely petrified” and feeling like a prisoner in her own home in Blyth, Northumberland. Newcastle Crown Court heard she had lived in her upstairs flat on the town’s Bowes Court for 17 years and McLaughlin, 49, had been there for a few months when the trouble began, it having previously been his mother’s flat.

McLaughlin pleaded guilty to harassment causing fear of violence between November and January. He was jailed for 12 months. Here’s the full court report.

Ryan Stephen

Ryan Stephen, jailed for arson, assault and criminal damage
Ryan Stephen, jailed for arson, assault and criminal damage
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A woman lost all of her belongings except the clothes she was wearing when her partner set fire to her flat in a revenge attack.

Ryan Stephen took umbrage at being told to leave after staying up all night drinking and assaulting his girlfriend. Then when she left the home they had been sharing in Hebburn, South Tyneside, he torched her bedroom.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the fire caused damage worth £20,000 to repair and she had no insurance so lost everything, including sentimental items from her deceased mother. Stephen was jailed for two years and six months. He was found guilty by a jury of arson, criminal damage and battery. Here’s the full story.

Daragh Hastings

Daragh Hastings
Daragh Hastings
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A homeless thief stole a woman’s handbag containing cash and gift vouchers as she celebrated her birthday in Newcastle city centre.

Daragh Hastings had asked the woman – who was celebrating her 50th birthday at the Centurion Bar – for change at Central Station on April 9. But after the woman refused, Hastings went on to take her handbag that contained cash and gift vouchers.

The theft left the victim “devastated” as a large sum of cash and vouchers were stolen along with her bag. The offence left her feeling “frightened and nervous”.

Hastings, 35, of no fixed address, appeared at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court where he pleaded guilty to the theft. He was jailed for 22 weeks. Read the full story here.

Rieddul Mohabath, Saleem Chaudhri

Rieddul Mohabath was sentenced to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Rieddul Mohabath was sentenced to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine.
(Image: Lancashire Police)
Saleem Chaudhri was jailed for 27 and a half years
Saleem Chaudhri was jailed for 27 and a half years
(Image: Lancashire Police)

Two men, including one from South Shields, were handed prison sentences after police found cocaine hidden inside blocks of cheese.

Lancashire Police said £17.2m worth of cocaine was seized when officers raided a unit in Blackburn last May and cut open blocks of gouda to uncover some of the class A drugs. Saleem Chaudhri, 46, was jailed for 27 and a half years at Preston Crown Court after admitting conspiring to supply cocaine and money laundering.

Co-defendant Rieddul Mohabath, 28, of Dean Road, South Shields, was sentenced to 16 years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, a police spokesperson said. Officers carried out the raid on May 3 last year after seeing Chaudhri, of Waterside, Blackburn, taking possession of a Toyota estate from a drugs courier and driving it to the Old Fire Station in Blackburn.

The force said 217 kilos of cocaine, imported from Belgium, were found inside the unit, some hidden in cheese and other blocks in bin bags ready to be handed to couriers. Mohabath was directing couriers to Blackburn to pick up large quantities of cocaine, police said.

When Mohabath was arrested, on July 3, snap bags of cocaine were found in an Audi outside his home. Police searched a property linked to him in Jarrow, and in the basement they found a significant amount of cash, a cash counting machine and suspected Class A drugs of varying weights. Here’s the full story.

Jordan Douglas, Mark Riddell

Jordan Douglas
Jordan Douglas
(Image: Durham Constabulary)
Mark Riddell
Mark Riddell
(Image: Durham Constabulary)

Two hapless burglars were jailed for carrying out a botched ram-raid on a sports shop in Durham.

Jordan Douglas, 34, and Mark Riddell, 42, used a car to smash into the front of a JD Sports store at the Arnison Centre and attempted to make off with over £3,400 worth of goods. But the “terrible job” resulted in the pair being arrested within minutes of the raid as police soon turned up after capturing them on CCTV.

The ram-raid caused “extensive damage” to the store and both men were put behind bars for the “reckless” offence. The pair appeared at Durham Crown Court to be sentenced for burglary.

Douglas was also sentenced for separate matters of criminal damage, possession of an offensive weapon and failing to attend court. Those offences related to an incident dating back to August 9 last year.

Douglas was jailed for two years and Riddell was jailed for 16 months. Here’s the full court report.

John Weatherald

John Weatherald has been sentenced to 22 weeks in prison
John Weatherald has been sentenced to 22 weeks in prison
(Image: handout)

A thirsty thief who swiped ten bottles of alcohol from a city centre bar was arrested, charged and jailed – all within 48 hours.

John Weatherald forced his way into Bobby’s Bar on Low Row, Sunderland, on April 8 and helped himself to the haul. The 54-year-old was spotted on CCTV wandering behind the bar and stealing bottles of Tequila Rose, Smirnoff and Captain Morgan before making off.

He was immediately identified on the footage by officers from the Sunderland Altogether Improving Lives (SAIL) partnership. The collaborative project sees police work together with the council, businesses and other partners to combat crime in the city centre and bring justice against perpetrators.

Weatherald, of St Barnabas Way, Sunderland, was swiftly arrested and charged with burglary on April 9. He appeared before magistrates in South Tyneside the following day where he admitted the offence and was jailed for 22 weeks. Here’s the full story.

Lewis Potter

Lewis Potter, jailed for possessing cocaine with intent to supply
Lewis Potter, jailed for possessing cocaine with intent to supply
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A business owner caught with high purity cocaine worth up to £80,000 in his wardrobe was jailed.

Lewis Potter, who runs a local garage, was pulled over by police in a car on September 27 2022 and when they searched his home in Ellington, Northumberland, they found a rucksack in a walk-in wardrobe. Inside a plastic bag in the rucksack was 805g of cocaine, most of which was 88% pure.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that its street value, when broken down into deals, could have been as much as £80,000. Messages recovered from Potter’s phone showed he had been dealing, sometimes half ounces at a time for £750.

The 29-year-old, of Linden Way, Ellington, was jailed for five-and-a-half years after admitting possessing cocaine with intent to supply. Here’s the full story.

Ian Delaney

Ian Delaney, aka Ian Davison
Ian Delaney, aka Ian Davison
(Image: Counter Terrorism Policing North East)

A white supremacist who once kept a chemical weapon in his kitchen cupboard was sent back to prison for having “the most horrific” child abuse images.

Ian Delaney, aka Davison, was the first person in the country to be convicted and jailed for producing a chemical weapon when he was locked up for 10 years in 2010 for offences including preparing acts of terrorism. Police had found deadly ricin in a jam jar when they raided his suburban home in County Durham in 2009.

Known as Ian Davison at the time, Delaney was a member of the Aryan Strike Force and he had set up a website for the group, which promoted violence against “non-white ethnic groups”. He was released in June 2014 but is subject to notification requirements under the Terrorism Act until the year 2045. This means he must keep the authorities informed about his internet access, phone devices, banking and other aspects of his day to day life.

He was jailed for breaching those requirements between March 2015 and January 2016 by failing to declare he had an internet enabled phone. In April this year, he was jailed for 44 months with a one year extended licence for further breaches of the order by having phones, a laptop, email address and cryptocurrency accounts that he had not informed the authorities about, as well as having vile images of child abuse and growing cannabis.

Delaney, 55, of Longhirst, Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough, Teesside, admitted five charges of failing to comply with notification requirements, making indecent images of children as well as production of cannabis and possessing the drug with intent to supply. Here’s the full story.

Mark Fairman

Mark Fairman, jailed for rape
Mark Fairman, jailed for rape
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A rapist held his hand over a teenager’s mouth as he raped her then told her not to tell anyone.

Mark Fairman targeted the underage girl, who had no previous sexual experience, pushing her down and pinning her arms behind her head while forcing himself on her. She wanted to cry out but he put his hand over her mouth and she was unable to do so.

After the attack, he said: “You can’t tell anyone because I will get done, I will get put in prison.” His fears were realised after she plucked up the courage to report what had happened and he was locked up after a jury convicted him of rape.

The 24-year-old, of Rowanberry Road, Longbenton, North Tyneside, was given a 12-year prison sentence. Here’s the full story.

Gemma Adnitt and Omer Taha

Gemma Adnitt, jailed for arson
Gemma Adnitt, jailed for arson
(Image: Northumbria Police)
Omer Taha, jailed for arson
Omer Taha, jailed for arson
(Image: Northumbria Police)

Burning trainers and lighter fuel were put through the window of a mum’s home in a “love triangle” revenge attack between former friends.

Gemma Adnitt set fire to the shoes the victim had given her as a gift and put them through her window along with a gas cannister as the victim and her nine-year-old daughter slept. Fortunately, the clang of the metal container hitting a radiator woke the woman up and she managed to put the fire out before it got out of control.

Adnitt, who carried out the arson attack with Omer Taha, had fallen out with the victim after a series of incidents and her barrister said a “love triangle of sorts” had developed. Taha, who had split from the victim at the time, is now back with her, Newcastle Crown Court heard as he and Adnitt were jailed.

Adnitt, 35, of Cheviot Gardens, Lobley Hill, Gateshead, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and a separate offence of possessing a bladed article. Taha, 38, of Woodlands Road, Rowlands Gill, Gateshead, was convicted after a trial of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Adnitt was jailed for three years seven months and Taha got three years nine months. Here’s the full court report.

Nathan Cook

Nathan Cook who has been jailed for historic sexual abuse
Nathan Cook who has been jailed for historic sexual abuse
(Image: North News & Pictures northn)

A rapist was jailed for carrying out the historic sexual abuse of a child who he “enticed” with computer games.

Nathan Cook was a teenager when he carried out the rape and sexual assault of a child who was significantly younger. Cook would play computer games with the boy, before going on to show him pornography.

During one terrifying incident, Cook “dragged” the boy into a room before carrying out a sexual offence. He also took pictures of the boy when he was naked.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that Cook’s crimes came to light years later when the victim confided in a family member. The horrific abuse he suffered left him battling depression and losing all trust in men and boys.

In April, Cook, of Nenthead, Alston, Cumbria, who is now 21 years old, appeared at the court to be sentenced for four counts of rape of a child, three counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, two counts of sexual assault of a child, and one count of causing a child to watch a sexual act. He was also sentenced for breaching a suspended sentence and a sexual harm prevention order, which post-dated the historic sex offences.

As Cook was around 14 years old when he committed the serious sex offences, Judge Amanda Rippon told the court she had to sentence him as if he was still that age. Cook was given a 10 year extended prison sentence, five years of which will be custodial. Here’s the full story.

Lucas Jones

Lucas Jones, jailed for GBH on Uber driver
Lucas Jones, jailed for GBH on Uber driver
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A taxi driver was left seriously injured after being repeatedly punched in the face by an angry customer who spouted vile racist abuse at him.

The Uber driver had been tasked to pick up Lucas Jones’ partner and then him in the early hours of May 25 2023 and told to take them from Sunderland to Newcastle. Jones, who had been drinking and taking cocaine, became racially abusive and aggressive during the journey before turning violent.

The taxi driver was left with two black eyes, his nose was broken in two places, he lost three teeth, had a cracked jaw, needed seven stitches in his face and had bruising to his mouth. Jones, 27, of Tanfield Road, Thorney Close, Sunderland, was originally charged with GBH with intent but prosecutors accepted guilty pleas to GBH and criminal damage.

He was jailed for 31 months. Read the full court report here.

John Saddler

John Saddler, jailed for two episodes of dangerous driving
John Saddler, jailed for two episodes of dangerous driving
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A road menace who did 90mph in a 30mph zone drove so dangerously he had to be rammed, causing £14,000 of damage to a police car.

John Saddler had been disqualified from driving in February 2022 under totting up provisions but sparked two separate police chases in just over a year. On June 28 that year, around 8.30pm, police saw him driving a silver Mercedes on Cowpen Road, in Blyth, Northumberland.

When he noticed officers behind him, he increased his speed and failed to stop for their blue lights and sirens. He drove erratically, overtaking other vehicles at speed before heading into a residential area. He almost lost control on a corner where a young child was playing in a garden which had no fence or wall, and the youngster was left startled and ran back towards the front door of the house. Due to the danger he posed, police aborted the chase.

He drove dangerously again on September 7, 2023. Police on Chillingham Road, Heaton, around 8pm, became aware of him behind the wheel of a Seat Ibiza and began to follow him. They activated their blue lights and sirens but he accelerated away, doing 80mph in a 30mph zone.

Due to the risk posed during this incident, the officer drove the police car into the Seat, causing extensive damage to both cars. Saddler tried to run off but was chased and detained.

Saddler, of Anstead Close, Cramlington, pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and having no insurance. He was jailed for 27 months. Here’s the full story.

Ally Gordon

Ally Gordon
Ally Gordon
(Image: Northumbria Police)

One of the killers jailed over the death of teenager Connor Brown was caught with a knife in a town centre.

Ally Gordon was locked up for three and a half years after being convicted of the manslaughter of 18-year-old Connor, who died after he was knifed in Sunderland city centre five years ago. Leighton Barrass, who delivered the fatal blade blows, was found guilty of murder and jailed for life.

But Gordon was back in court in Scotland in April after being caught with a weapon in a town north of the border. The 24-year-old appeared from custody at Airdrie Sheriff Court where he admitted carrying a knife in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, on November 27, 2022.

The court heard how Gordon had been jailed for 40 months at Newcastle Crown Court in November 2023 after admitting allowing Anthony Keating, who was later convicted of Blaine Hammond’s murder, to hide at his Sunderland home while he was on the run from police in December 2021.

Defence lawyer Nicky Matteo said Gordon moved to Scotland to “bond” with his father and look for work after being freed from prison on licence. Sheriff Joseph Hughes jailed Gordon, who also admitted possessing a stolen wallet, for 21 months to run alongside his 40-month stretch. Here’s the full story.

Colin Dunn and Kurtis Wiscombe

Colin Dunn, jailed for robbery and assault
Colin Dunn, jailed for robbery and assault
(Image: Northumbria Police)
Kurtis Wiscombe, jailed for assault and racially aggravated harassment alarm or distress
Kurtis Wiscombe, jailed for assault and racially aggravated harassment alarm or distress
(Image: Northumbria Police)

Boorish Metro station louts who terrorised two innocent members of the public were jailed.

Two men were targeted in separate unprovoked attacks while going about their business in South Tyneside after having the misfortune to encounter siblings Colin and Amber Dunn and Kurtis Wiscombe. Newcastle Crown Court heard the offences happened on November 5 last year at Hebburn Metro station and were caught on CCTV.

Two friends were waiting for a train when the three yobs got off a Metro and started calling one of them a “nonce” for no reason. When that man got on the Metro, they turned on his friend, who was still on the platform, calling him a “nonce”.

Colin Dunn then approached him and punched him in the face and Wiscombe and Amber Dunn joined in the punching and kicking attack. They began to walk off before Amber Dunn turned back and tried to grab the victim, who pushed her away, at which point Wiscombe said “get your hands off my lass” and punched him two or three times.

Colin Dunn then demanded the man’s money, then his bag, before Amber Dunn alerted the others to security cameras in the area. As the trio left the Metro station, they encountered another man.

Colin Dunn repeatedly punched him with a left hook and the victim was kicked and stamped on. Wiscombe shouted a racist insult as he walked away.

Colin Dunn pleaded guilty to robbery and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, Kurtis Wiscombe, admitted racially aggravated harassment alarm or distress and assault occasioning actual bodily harm and Amber Dunn admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage.

Colin Dunn, 28, of Belgrave Terrace, South Shields, was jailed for 40 months and Wiscombe, 27, of no fixed address, was locked up for 20 months. Amber Dunn, 25, of Fairless Street, South Shields, was to be sentenced at a later date. Here’s the full story.

Colin Richardson

Colin Richardson, jailed for burglaries
Colin Richardson, jailed for burglaries
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A professional burglar managed to break into two houses while being tailed by undercover police officers after they lost him.

Colin Richardson, jailed in 2016 for targeting 20 homes after compiling a database of victims in wealthy neighbourhoods, had been released on licence. He was deemed so high risk, a team of undercover officers were watching him as he got a bus to Morpeth in February this year.

However they lost sight of him and he broke into two homes on the same street. Richardson, 55, of Dean House, Wallsend, was jailed for 32 months. Here’s the full story.

Liam Ellison

Liam Ellison, 35, has been jailed for 14 weeks
Liam Ellison, 35, has been jailed for 14 weeks
(Image: handout)

A prolific thief who was banned from city centre stores was jailed after ignoring a court order.

Liam Ellison had been the subject of a three-year Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) since October 2022 because of his frequent and spiralling offending. Ellison, 35, was banned from entering any retail premises in Sunderland city centre, but he decided to ignore these conditions and wandered into The Bridges Shopping Centre on Saturday, April 20.

He was immediately spotted by the Bridges security staff who alerted police. Ellison was then swiftly arrested and charged with breaching his CBO. On April 22, he appeared before magistrates in South Tyneside and was jailed for 14 weeks. Here’s the full story.

Steven Morgan

Steven Morgan, jailed for attacking his dad
Steven Morgan, jailed for attacking his dad
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A son who harboured a grudge against his dad subjected him to a shocking attack during which he put him into a wardrobe and stamped on him.

A court heard Steven Morgan and his father had a “volatile” relationship and did not get on following childhood issues surrounding domestic abuse. Having spiralled into drinking to excess following the death of his grandmother, on January 13 this year Morgan decided to travel some distance to attack his dad at his home in Wallsend in the early hours.

Having smashed the car window of a neighbour on his way, he forced his way into his father’s home while he was asleep, dragging him out of bed, kicking, stamping and punching him and putting him in a wardrobe while threatening to kill him.

Morgan, 40, of Hollin Hill Road, Concord, Washington, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding, threats to kill and criminal damage. He was jailed for 20 months. Here’s the full story.

Rhyss Laws

Rhyss Laws, jailed for sexual assault, exposure and driving offences
Rhyss Laws, jailed for sexual assault, exposure and driving offences
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A pervert who pounced on a stranger as she went for a jog is back behind bars for another sex attack after targeting a pregnant teenager.

Rhyss Laws was locked up in 2018 for the shocking attack on a woman in Ashington, during which he dragged her to the ground and tried to pull her leggings off. In his latest offences, Laws engaged a teen in sexualised conversation and asked to have sex with her. She refused his advances but he grabbed her breast over her clothing.

She told him “you can’t do that” and pushed him away but he took out his penis and asked her to look at it, putting his hand on her head and trying to turn it so she was looking at it. He then asked her to touch it and asked if they could have sex. She changed her location to try to get away from him but he followed her and again asked for sex.

He then asked if they could “spoon” and made her lie down in front of him, kissing her neck, touching her breast and putting his hand between her thighs over her clothing. He also put his hand over her mouth, took out his penis and was kissing and biting her neck and said it would be “nice to **** a schoolgirl”.

He pleaded guilty to sexual assault and exposure. He also admitted offences of dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, criminal damage, drinking driving and driving with no insurance in Middlesbrough on March 16 2023 after a police chase in a van during which he caused minor damage to a police vehicle.

He was jailed for 45 months. Here’s the full court report.

Tony Gregorio and Lee Burrows

Tony Gregorio
Tony Gregorio
(Image: Northumbria Police)
Lee Burrows
Lee Burrows
(Image: Northumbria Police)

Two men were put behind bars after a woman was stabbed in the chest as she walked through a city park.

The victim suffered a punctured lung and spent time in a high dependency unit at hospital after the attack in April last year. Newcastle Crown Court heard the woman was first targeted by Chelsea Kane, who pulled out clumps of her hair during a confrontation outside a convenience store.

Moments later, the victim, who had hit back in self defence, walked away into Elswick Park in Newcastle. The court heard Kane’s then boyfriend Tony Gregorio and his pal Lee Burrows showed up and the violence took a “scary” turn.

Prosecutor Nicoletta Alistari said CCTV captured what happened and Gregorio was seen talking to Kane then taking a knife from Burrows. Miss Alistari added: “Gregorio then walked in the direction of Elswick Park. In the park the complainant was punched by Gregorio, who said ‘I know you chinned my lass’ before punching her to the jaw, causing her to fall to the ground.

“When she stood up he stabbed her in the left side of the chest with the knife. She didn’t realise she had been stabbed until she saw bleeding and bubbles coming from the wound.”

Gregorio, 26, of Beech Grove, Newcastle, admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent and having a bladed article and was jailed for 57 months. Burrows, 48, also of Beech Grove, admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent, having a bladed article and having an imitation firearm with intent in relation to a child’s toy gun he had strapped to a holster on his chest when he was arrested. He was jailed for 38 months.

Kane, 28, of Tennyson Crescent, Gateshead, admitted assault and common assault and was sentenced to a community order for 18 months. Here’s the full story.

Rebecca Rowley, Samantha Tait

Rebecca Rowley, jailed for supplying cocaine
Rebecca Rowley, jailed for supplying cocaine
(Image: North East Regional Organised Crime Unit)
Samantha Tait
Samantha Tait
(Image: NEROCU)

A mother who took her three young children along to sell a kilo of high purity cocaine on behalf of a drugs gang boss was jailed.

Rebecca Rowley, along with friend Samantha Tait, came to the attention of the North East Regional Organised Crime Unit in February 2022 as part of Operation Springfield, which targeted a large scale cocaine and heroin distribution network headed by Adam Oakley. Rowley and Tait were “trusted couriers” for the “cross country distribution operation” and on February 3 2022 they set off from Newcastle in a rented Fiat 500 to deliver drugs for Oakley to a man in Cumbria and collected a large amount of money as payment for the cocaine.

A court heard that the defendants took with them Miss Rowley’s children that day. They drove to Ulverston, in Cumbria, where they handed over a kilo of 82% pure cocaine to a man in return for tens of thousands of pounds. But police were watching and swooped to arrest them.

Rowley, 30, of Falmouth Road, North Shields, who was convicted of drug driving and cautioned for child neglect in relation to the same trip, pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine and was jailed for 32 months. Tait, 33, of Greenlea, North Shields, who also admitted supplying cocaine, was also jailed for 32 months.

Oakley, 39, of no fixed address and two other men were to be sentenced in May. Here’s the full court report.

Peter Brearey

Peter Brearey
Peter Brearey
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A pensioner was locked up after he set fire to his marital home.

On August 29 last year, Peter Brearey’s wife left home to visit him at Cramlington Hospital, where he was receiving oxygen for cardiopulmonary disease. She spoke to nurses and social workers about concerns she had about changes in his behaviour.

She was told Brearey had left the hospital and she got a text from him asking where she was. He went to their three bedroom home on Banbury Way, North Shields, and shortly after he got there a neighbour driving past saw him standing outside next to a fire which had been set at the side of the property and was spreading and approaching one of the doors.

Brearey was arrested and was found to be in possession of a lighter. A court heard the fire was likely to have been started in an area where there were some wheelie bins and rubbish.

Brearey pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and was jailed for 28 months. Read the full story here.

John Pope

John Pope, jailed for arson
John Pope, jailed for arson
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A cold homeless man who started a fire to keep warm outside Specsavers caused £1,000 of damage after it got out of hand.

John Pope was living rough and under the influence of drugs on a chilly January night when he decided to set a fire at the back door of Specsavers, on Jackson Street, in Gateshead. After watching it get out of hand, he fled the scene.

Staff returned the next morning to find the back door damaged. Pope, 41, admitted arson – on the basis he was homeless and cold when he set the fire and that he walked away when it got out of hand – and possessing two bladed articles in relation to lock knives found on him when he was arrested. He was jailed for six months. Here’s the full story.

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View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/faces-44-north-east-criminals-28997295

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