TWO witnesses who deliberately went on holiday to avoid giving evidence in a crown court trial have received a suspended prison sentence.

Underground train driver Peter Hoctor, 51, and cleaning company boss Janet Anderson, 57, should have attended York Crown Court on behalf of the prosecution last October.

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But they "didn't give a damn for the court proceedings", the same court heard.

Instead, they went to Teneriffe - after they had received a witness summons ordering them to attend the trial.

Without their evidence, the prosecution case collapsed and the defendant was acquitted.

On their return to the UK the two prosecution witnesses were ordered into the dock at York Crown Court.

The couple from O'Neill Drive, Peterlee, were charged with contempt of court by failure to answer a witness summons and admitted the charge.

Each admitted the offence and was given a four-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months on condition they each do 80 hours' unpaid work.

They must also each pay prosecution costs of £750.

Judge Simon Hickey said they had "deliberately" not attended court.

"(You were) effectively saying 'We don't give a damn for the court proceedings'," he told them.

The couple represented themselves and told a probation officer they hadn't realised their absence would lead to the trial's collapse.


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