Knife-wielding Ferryhill burglar lashed out 'Ninja style' to free Spennymoor girlfriend from have-a-go hero

The Northern Echo: Kirk Watson Kirk Watson

A KNIFE-wielding "madman’"who returned to the scene of a burglary to rescue his girlfriend accomplice lashed out "Ninja style" at the have-a-go hero who had detained her, a court heard.

Kirk Watson had fled the house in Shildon, County Durham, after the burglary but went back to free Sharnie Rank, his partner in both crime and romance, who was being held until the police arrived by community-spirited neighbour Darren Taylor, Durham Crown Court was told.

Shouting threats to kill Mr Taylor, the 24-year-old lunged at him with his ten-inch bread knife “like a madman” and in “Ninja style”, slashing and chopping, Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said.

Then fleeing on foot, Watson shouted to Mr Taylor that he would come back and kill him later.

Mr Taylor suffered seven slash wounds, the biggest of which was three inches long, and was given urgent medical treatment at the scene.

The whole incident, which Mr Newcombe described as harrowing and Judge Christopher Prince said was extremely ugly, happened in broad daylight with children watching on, shortly before 6pm on Wednesday, June 19, the court heard.

The occupants of the house were out at a wedding when Watson, Rank and another female, who was not named in court, embarked upon the burglary.

But Mr Taylor and another good neighbour, named in court only as Mr Sloan, realised what was going on and intervened, initially detaining all three.

Watson escaped after threatening Mr Taylor with the knife, leaping to freedom over a garden wall, Mr Newcombe said.

But, in an act of misplaced chivalry, he returned, leading to the knife attack.

He lashed out many times, with only Mr Taylor’s glasses saving him from more serious injury.

Watson, of Darlington Road, Ferryhill, who has a long criminal record, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, unlawful wounding and possessing a bladed article in public.

Paul Donohue, mitigating, said he was carrying a knife for his own protection as he feared being attacked but accepts what he did was outrageous, is devastated at his actions – which he said were caused by alcohol – and apologised.

Rank, 23, of Mount Pleasant View, Spennymoor, admitted burglary, plus two shoplifting offences and breaching a suspended sentence.

Chris Baker, mitigating, said she has a problem with alcohol and had turned back to it after being badly disfigured in an incident involving a bottle.

Judge Prince said the incident had a most adverse effect on the family whose home was burgled.

He sentenced Watson to a total of six years and eight months in prison and said he should be subjected to an extended licence period of four years following his release.

Rank was sentenced to a total of 18 months behind bars.

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