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Peacemaker stabbed in the back after simmering row erupts
A TEENAGER is facing a lengthy prison sentence after a simmering row between neighbours erupted into violence and an innocent peacemaker was stabbed.
Kieran Hodgson knifed Ross Rowlinson in the back when he went into the street to try to stop the warring families in Sherburn Hill, near Durham City.
Mr Rowlinson's girlfriend, Grace Kenny, was also viciously assaulted when she got caught up in the late-night disturbance in April last year.
Trainee bricklayer Hodgson, 18, admitted stabbing Mr Rowlinson, also 18, and has been warned to expect custody when he is sentenced next month.
His father, Kevin, denied the same charge of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and was cleared after a week-long Teesside Crown Court trial.
The jury rejected prosecution claims that the 47-year-old told his son to get the knife from their home in Jubilee Crescent when the violence escalated.
He (Kevin Hodgson) was found guilty of affray, but his son-in-law Peter Richardson, 35, was cleared, and also found not guilty of assaulting Miss Kenny.
Richardson's wife Natalie, 31, and her 50-year-old mother, Karen Punshon, admitted charges of affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The four are expected to be sentenced some time next month after background reports are prepared on them by officials from the Probation Service.
Jonathan Devlin, for Kieran Hodgson, asked for an adjournment so the teenager could finish his final exams, and added: "He knows custody is inevitable."
Prosecutor Richard Bennett told the court how trouble flared after months of tension between Punshon and neighbour Karen Walker and her family.
Mr Bennett said Punshon was responsible for name-calling, staring in windows, pulling faces and waving sarcastically in the run up to the trouble.
"She was a loud and aggressive woman when in drink," Mr Bennett told the jury of eight women and four men. "She was the ringleader on April 1.
"She started to make a nuisance of herself with pathetic and childish attempts to intimidate Karen Walker. Sensibly, Mrs Walker didn't get involved.
"She went to bed with her partner but felt uneasy because she thought trouble may come go her door that night. She took a cordless phone in case of emergency.
"At about 10.55pm, she could hear raised voices from across the road and, looking out of the window, she could see Kieran shadow boxing in the front room.
"The prosecution case is that Punshon and the Hodgsons came out of the house to cause trouble. There was absolutely no need for them to come out."
Mrs Walker was one of a number of people to call police after Kieran Hodgson smashed one of her downstairs windows, but she never left her home.
Miss Kenny tried to ease tensions outside, but was immediately attacked by the women, and when Mr Rowlinson went to help, he was knocked to the ground and stabbed.
The defendants have since been forced to move from the area and now have the following addresses: Kevin Hodgson and Punshon live in St Mary's Terrace, Coxhoe; the Richardsons at Park Avenue, Coxhoe; and Kieran Hodgson in Wakenshaw Road, Gilesgate.
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