A MURDERER, drug dealers, perverts, robbers and thieves among those who faced justice at Teesside Crown Court during November.

A CALCULATING murderer who abducted and killed his former partner has been jailed for almost 24 years.

Andrew Pearson grabbed Natalie Harker before dragging her into woodland and having sex with her when she was either ‘unconscious or dying’ as she was forcibly restrained.

He had laid in wait for Miss Harker as she cycled to work along a pitch-black lane in October last year before striking at around 4.30am.

The Northern Echo: Andrew PearsonAndrew Pearson

The 45-year-old had planned the abduction in meticulous detail before launching his jealous attack just weeks after she broke off their relationship.

Judge Stephen Ashurst said only Pearson would know precisely what happened when he killed her by holding her underwater while compressing her neck.

The judge added: “What happened thereafter was extraordinary.

“You took her lifeless body into the tent, stripped her of her clothes which you then folded and took into another part of the tent.

“Whether she was still breathing or not, you thought only of yourself, not just in the shock of the moment, but for hour after hour.”

THE two teenagers who supplied 15-year-old Leah Heyes with ecstasy have been sentenced for their role in her tragic death.

The teenager took two 'bombs' of ecstasy on the night she died after she was warned 'yous are going to end up f***ed up on this' by the youth who passed her the drug.

Teesside Crown Court heard how paramedics were called to Northallerton’s Applegarth Park after Leah collapsed before the teenager was taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, where she later died.

Mitchell Southern, 19, of Dondeen Avenue, Thirsk, pleaded guilty to a charge of supplying ecstasy on May 11 last year.

The Northern Echo: Connor Kirkwood, left, and Mitchell Southern, right, have been jailedConnor Kirkwood, left, and Mitchell Southern, right, have been jailed

While Connor Kirkwood, 18, of Lynx Lane, Dishforth Airfield, North Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine and ecstasy on the same day.

Judge Jonathan Carroll said the drug culture among young people had robbed Leah of her future, as well as ruining the lives of the two defendants.

"This case it tragic, truly tragic, first and foremost tragic for Leah Heyes," he said. "I pay tribute to her mother who is present in court today showing great bravery and fortitude.

"She was just 15-years-old, she had everything to love for; the excitement that is rightfully held by young people in anticipation of their futures, a new sister on the way who she didn't get to meet.

"All that hope and aspiration for the future extinguished because of the evil that drugs represent in our society."

Southern was sentenced to 12 months in a young offenders' institute while Kirkwood was sentenced to 21 months detention.

AN IT contractor stole £12,000 worth of laptop from the NHS in a desperate attempt to clear his gambling debts.

Neil Murthick stole 27 computers which had been bought by the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust at the outbreak of the Covid pandemic to enable staff to work safely from home.

Murthick, whose wife works as a nurse, was branded 'selfish' by a judge as he was jailed for two years and two months.

The Northern Echo: Neil MurthickNeil Murthick

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 42-year-old was brought into the trust to update and prepare computers for staff but instead he was helping himself to laptops before selling them.

Murthick, of Inglewood Close, Darlington, pleaded guilty to theft by employee.

Police managed to trace some of the stolen computers which had been sold to businesses in Darlington and Middlesbrough and some were being sold on Facebook.

A SEXUAL predator who abducted and raped a teenage girl after a night out has been given a 17-year sentence.

Saman Osmanzadeh was prowling the streets of Darlington in his car looking for vulnerable young women to satisfy his depraved needs when he targeted the young woman as she made her way home.

The Northern Echo: Saman OsmanzadehSaman Osmanzadeh

The 31-year-old then took his victim to a friend’s house in Bishop Auckland where he raped her before taking her back to Darlington and dropping off the distressed teenager at a friend’s house in March this year.

Judge Jonathan Carroll told Osmanzadeh that he had no doubt that the defendant was acting in a ‘predatory manner’ while he waiting to target an isolated and vulnerable young girl and ‘effectively abducted her’.

He said Osmanzadeh plied the victim with alcohol and cocaine to ensure that she remained in an intoxicated state while he raped her.

Osmanzadeh, of Durham Street, Bishop Auckland, denied rape and maintained that the sex was consensual.

Judge Carroll sentenced him to 13 years in custody with an extended four-year licence period.

A PENSIONER has been left bloodied and bruised after after two men wearing motorbike helmets battered him with a hammer during a violent burglary.

The 79-year-old victim was also kicked and punched after he fell to the ground when the men forced their way into his home late at night.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Mark Lloyd was rugby-tackled by a police officer who responded to a 999 call after the burglars were heard smashing their way into the pensioner's Middlesbrough home.

The Northern Echo: Mark LloydMark Lloyd

Lloyd, 39, of Broadwell Road, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, assault causing actual bodily harm and possession of a knife.

Judge Jonathan Carroll sentenced Lloyd to eight years and one months in custody.

"You threatened and intimidated him to get in, once you got in a vicious and sustained assault began. It seems likely that the other person was the lead member in this violence but you share his responsibility and you can't wash your hands of it by saying the worst of it was done by someone else," he said.

A WOMAN was attacked and robbed at knifepoint by a crack addict as she walked home after visiting her father.

The victim was approached by Michael Pinkney who was pestering her for money before violently confronting her as she headed through Stockton town centre.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 37-year-old grabbed his victim before rifling through her pockets and stealing the £40 her father had just given her.

The Northern Echo: Michael PinkneyMichael Pinkney

Pinkney was then arrested for carrying out a burglary at a Stockton town centre pub when he, and an unknown accomplice, forced their way into the building through a fire escape in February this year before ransacking the premises.

Pinkney, of Palmerston Street, Stockton, pleaded guilty to robbery, threatening a person with a knife and burglary.

Judge Recorder Chris Smith sentenced Pinkney to 56 months in custody for the robbery and six months for the burglary, making it a total sentence of five year and two months.

A SERIAL burglar went on a one-man crime spree in the early hours of the morning when he targeted five business premises in little over an hour.

Stuart Blackburn successfully broke into two pubs stealing booze and a charity box before turning his attention to a florist, a butcher, and a sandwich shop.

The 31-year-old used an axe to smash his way into the Roundel and Oddfellows pubs in Thornaby between 2.30am and 3.30am on August 13.

The Northern Echo: Stuart BlackburnStuart Blackburn

Blackburn also managed to force his way in the Oddfellows pub where he stole a charity box before fleeing, said Jane Waugh, prosecuting.

The charity box was recovered and had traces of Blackburn's blood on it.

The defendant then headed into the town centre where he was again caught on CCTV smashing windows of Heaven Scent florists, Roberts Family Butchers, and Subway.

Blackburn, of Harlow Crescent, Thornaby, pleaded guilty to two burglaries and three attempted burglaries.

The Judge Recorder Chris Smith branded Blackburn a one-man crimewave after targeting all five businesses within a few hours in August this year.

The judge sentenced Blackburn to a total of two years and ten months for all five offences.