A WELL-KNOWN boxing coach in a County Durham town has been jailed after being convicted at a recent trial of two sex offences involving an underage girl.

Michael David Thompson was sentenced to 27 months imprisonment by Judge Ray Singh, among recent cases at Durham Crown Court.

The self-employed plasterer, who also ran Mick’s Boxing Gym, in Crook, denied meeting a child following grooming and sexual assault by touching, both dating from April 2019, but after a two-day trial was found guilty by unanimous jury verdicts on his 39th birthday, in March.

Following several delays in sentencing, he finally learned his fate last Friday, when he was also made subject of registration as a sex offender and restrictions under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, both to run for ten years.

Judge Singh said the victim was “vulnerable” due to her age, being under 16, while the offence was aggravated by an attempt by the defendant to prevent the victim from reporting the incident

In an unconnected case sentenced at the court, revenge arsonist Darren Peacock was jailed for four-years-and-three months after admitting arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered or property was damaged.

The 50-year-old defendant, of Tenth Street, Horden, entered the rear of a neighbouring property in the terraced street and started a fire at about 5.25pm on February 10, 2019.

He was seen leaving the address and entering his own home, a short time before a witness saw smoke coming from the roof of the targeted property.

The fire brigade was called and extinguished the blaze, but not before it had caused extensive damage, amounting to £18,534, while the landlord lost an estimated £7,000 in income from being unable to rent out the house while the clear-up and repairs took place.

It emerged the defendant used to live at the damaged house but was taken to court by the landlord for rent arrears and damage.

The landlord claimed Peacock owed him money from his time as his tenant.