Killers, burglars and violent thugs are amongst those who got locked up at Teesside Crown Court last month.

The Northern Echo looks back at some of the worst offenders to face justice in August.


Deadly driver

The family of a man killed by a speeding drunken motorist told him to ‘rot in hell’ as he was jailed for 12 years for the senseless death.

Arron Dunlop downed at least six double Southern Comforts and Jagerbombs before getting behind the wheel of his Audi A5 and speeding away from the George and Dragon pub where he had spent then evening drinking.

Within minutes, the 30-year-old smashed into the rear of Paul Greenfield’s motorbike in Norton, Stockton, as he made his way home from work.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the father-of-three was carried on the bonnet of the speeding Audi for a few hundred metres before being thrown onto a grass verge.

Mr Greenfield’s devastated wife spoke of her family’s loss as Dunlop was sentenced after admitting causing death by dangerous driving following the fatal crash on June 8 this year.

Cheryl Greenfield said the couple met while working at the KP factory in Billingham and her husband was returning home from his shift when he was killed.

The mother-of-three told the court she knew something had happened when he failed to return home and came across the horrendous scene while she was searching for him.

“There are no words to describe this, nobody should have to go through what we have had to,” she said. “He was doing nothing wrong; Peter was just minutes away from home when he was killed.”

The Northern Echo: Arron DunlopArron Dunlop (Image: Cleveland Police)

Dunlop, of Alma Street, Stockton, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen.

Judge Paul Watson KC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, branded Dunlop’s driving as shocking and slammed him for trying to ‘skulk in Spain’ in a bid to evade justice.


Knife threat

A man who threatened a care worker with a knife before stealing her car and taking police on a dangerous chase through a North East town left his victim fearing for her life.

Spencer McKittrick targeted the community carer while she was attending patients’ homes before tearing off in her Nissan Micra and crashing it during his desperate attempt to flee police.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 20-year-old was arrested after abandoning the car in Middlesbrough and trying to escape on foot.

The court heard how the stolen Micra was later spotted by police as McKittrick drove it around Middlesbrough before he sped off to avoid arrest.

The Northern Echo: Spencer McKittrickSpencer McKittrick (Image: Cleveland Police)

In a victim impact statement, the care worker said the incident had left her fearing for her life and scared about working alone in the community.

McKittrick, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to robbery, having an article with a blade or point, damaging property, dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, possession of cannabis, failing to provide a specimen of breath, and driving without insurance.

John Nixon, mitigating, said his client was ‘a puzzling young man’ who had been turning his life around and was working hard but had ‘fallen off the edge’ when he committed the offences on July 1 this year.

Judge Chris Smith sentenced the defendant to 44 months in a young offenders’ institute and banned him from driving for a total of four years and ten months.


Disgraced footballer

An ex-footballer who launched a brutal attack on a woman during a drunken night out has been locked up after his ‘egregious violence’ left her covered in her own blood.

Marcus Maddison’s assault left the 60-year-old woman with severe facial injuries after he delivered a heavy blow while wearing a large ring on his finger.

The Ex-Darlington player, who was repeatedly linked with a possible multi-million pound move to Sunderland while he was playing in League One with Peterborough United, called the woman’s daughter a “fat sl**” before hurling cheesy chips at her and punching her in the face.

Violence erupted after the former midfielder left The Gate nightclub in Darlington at 3am in the early hours of Sunday, September 25, 2022.

The victim told Teesside Crown Court that she still suffers medical problems as a result of the brutal punch.

She said: “My jaw was broken in multiple places. I can't eat on the left-hand side of my mouth. I have problems with my teeth."

The ex-professional footballer became embroiled in a row about queue jumping in a kebab shop before the altercation descended into violence.

The Northern Echo: Marcus Maddison in actionMarcus Maddison in action (Image: Tim Hickman)

Maddison, of High Causeway, Peterborough, admitted a charge of causing grievous bodily harm following the incident.

Tabitha Buck, mitigating, said he had stopped drinking as a result of his behaviour on that night and had fully accepted that his reaction of over the top.

Recorder Paul Reid jailed the ex-footballer for 20 months for the vicious assault.


Vicious thug

A vicious thug who kicked and stamped on a woman during a violent attack in broad daylight has been locked up.

Andrew Davies was detained by members of public who intervened when they witnessed the brutal assault in Darlington town centre.

When police arrived on the scene the victim told officers that the 45-year-old had also threatened her with a knife on December 2 last year.

Although the woman did not support a police investigation, officers from Durham Constabulary pursued the case through an evidence-led prosecution due to the severity of the incident.

The Northern Echo: Andrew DaviesAndrew Davies (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Davies, of Kennard Road, Darlington, appeared at Teesside Crown Court where he was handed an extended prison sentence of five years.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing, Investigative Officer Heidi Weir and PC Amie Thornton, from Darlington Safeguarding Team, said: “Although the victim in this case did not support a prosecution, we are pleased our investigation has resulted in Davies – a violent and dangerous man - being jailed."


Callous murderer

A violent thug who beat a friend with a wine bottle and a walking stick has been branded a coward as he was jailed for life for the brutal murder.

Dean James Williams became enraged when Ian MacNeil refused to share his heroin with him and launched a vicious assault on the 46-year-old.

The 50-year-old refused to attend court to learn his fate as he was locked up for a minimum of 16 years following the fatal attack on November 28, 2021.

Judge Paul Watson KC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, called the murderer coercive and manipulative as he lambasted him for trying to persuade a witness to point the finger of blame at another man.

The Northern Echo: Dean James WilliamsDean James Williams (Image: CLEVELAND POLICE)

“You have chosen not to attend the last few days of the trial, providing the court with excuses because the reality is that you do not want to attend because you cannot face the consequences of what you did.

“Your failure to attend court is illustrative of the sort of manipulative, coercive and cowardly character that you are. You don’t even have the courage to face the court today to hear your sentence.”

Dealing with the violence, he said: “You punched him repeatedly in the face and continued to demand money for drugs or drugs.

“At some point you had picked up an empty bottle of wine – first you threatened him with it but eventually, with him continuing to hold his ground, you hit him about the body with it."

Mr MacNeil was taken to hospital and treated for a bleed on the brain and a punctured lung before dying 12 days later.

Judge Watson sentenced Williams to life in prison and told him he must serve at least 16 years in custody before he is eligible for parole.


Taxi robbery

A thug who left a taxi driver fearing for his life as he forced him to drive while holding a seven-inch blade to his neck has been locked up.

Brooklyn Dougan climbed into the back of the victim’s car in Thornaby town centre before demanding he hand over cash and his mobile phone.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 21-year-old pulled on the car’s handbrake before jumping out of the car and running away with a shopping bag full of snacks.

The taxi driver told police he was ‘99 per cent sure he was going to die’ during the incident.

Dougan was identified by a Cleveland Police PCSO who watched CCTV from the Sainsbury’s store.

The court heard how the defendant also forced his way into five sheds before being chased off by the homeowner from his property on Lilac Avenue, Thornaby, in the early hours of February 16.

The Northern Echo: Brooklyn DouganBrooklyn Dougan (Image: Cleveland Police)

Dougan, of St Pauls Road, Thornaby, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of a bladed article following the incident on March 13. He also pleaded guilty to the shed burglary.

Victoria Lamballe, mitigating, said her client has a longstanding crack cocaine addiction and ‘mercifully’ the taxi driver has not suffered any physical injury.

Judge Andrew Hatton told Dougan it didn’t matter that his robbery attempt was unsuccessful as the taxi driver genuinely feared for his life.

Dougan was jailed for a total of six years after a suspended sentence for four shop thefts was activated.


Shop robbery

An armed robber who donned a balaclava before raiding a high street shop was arrested within minutes after the worker recognised his voice.

Paul Sherwood entered the shop armed with a knife before making his way behind the counter and grabbing cash from an open till.

The 43-year-old then fled from the One Stop Shop on Guisborough High Street before discarding his disguise in a bin, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Jon Harley, prosecuting, said the defendant was out on licence when he carried out the armed robbery on June 19 this year.

Sherwood, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of a bladed article following his swift arrest.

The Northern Echo: Paul SherwoodPaul Sherwood (Image: Cleveland Police)

Judge Andrew Hatton locked the defendant up for four years and eight months after knocking a third off his sentence for pleading guilty.

He said: “You went in the shop with a balaclava over your head and face, in fact CCTC showed you putting it on nearby, you had a knife in your hand.

“You went to the till area and emptied the till which was open as the woman was serving someone else – you told her to keep it open.

“Despite the balaclava you were recognised.”

Sherwood was also barred from entering the shop for ten years after he was made subject of a restraining order.


Domestic violence

A jealous thug, who smashed a car his ex-partner was driving before scrawling abuse in her kitchen and plunging a knife into a unit, has been branded ‘insecure’ by a judge.

Martin Ogelby flew into a rage when his victim turned up to pick him in her brother’s Audi and smashed the windows of the car with a mallet, showering her with broken glass.

He then launched a torrent of abuse in a series of threatening and intimidating messages and phone calls.

Teesside Crown Court heard how his erratic behaviour escalated when he gained entry to her Darlington home and wrote ‘f*** you’ all around her kitchen.

The 44-year-old banned her from mentioning her former partner and demanded she take a video-call to show him that no-one else was in her Darlington home.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, told the court how Ogelby caused more than £2,500 worth of damage to Audi leaving the woman covered in broken glass.

The court heard how Ogelby then turned up at her home when she was out and vandalised her home leaving a crowbar on her bed and a knife embedded in a cabinet causing more than £2,000 worth of damage.

The Northern Echo: Martin Ogelby Martin Ogelby (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Ogelby, of Imperial Crescent, Stockton, pleaded guilty to criminal damage, common assault and harassment between May 29 and June 2.

Judge Jonathan Carroll said: “When she told you it was over you used some seriously disgusting terms to describe the woman who you had been in a relationship with.

“Your messages were threatening and intimidating which is exactly what they were designed to do. You said nothing was going to make you stop and you would destroy everything she held.”

The judge locked Ogelby up for a total of 15 months after he relentlessly targeted his victim over a protracted time period.


Opportunistic burglar

An opportunistic burglar, with a ‘dreadful’ record, has been jailed after he climbed through an open window to steal a student’s laptop and Fitbit.

Thomas Leonard was caught on CCTV prowling the streets of Middlesbrough town centre looking for easy targets when he spotted the flat’s open window.

Teesside Crown Court heard how he was in and out within seconds after the student heard someone in his flat and came out of the bathroom to confront the man.

The judge heard how the £1,000 laptop was returned to the victim following the defendant’s arrest and how he had 27 convictions for 58 offences, the majority of which were for dishonesty.

The Northern Echo: Thomas LeonardThomas Leonard (Image: Cleveland Police)

Leonard, of Letitia Street, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to burglary on the flat on Borough Road, Middlesbrough, from May 5 this year.

Judge Jonathan Carroll told the defendant that his record was ‘dreadful’ as he jailed him for 22 months after he raided the student's flat.

He said: “You were out that morning looking for opportunities to steal. You were seen on CCTV trying car doors and then you chanced upon the open window and took the opportunity to burgle the flat.”


'Berserk' man

A man went berserk with an axe when he threatened to kill his sister and her partner while smashing it into the door and windows of his former family home, a court heard.

Paul Lowe screamed ‘I’ll bury this axe in your head’ as he delivered countless blows trying to force his way into the Darlington property.

A neighbour bravely came out their home to try and calm the situation but the 44-year-old continued to plunge the axe into the door of the house.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Lowe was heavily intoxicated at the time of the violent attack and threatened to bite a chunk out of his own arm before sinking his teeth into his arm after police finally managed to subdue him.

Uzma Khan, prosecuting, said the defendant was shouting "I own 70 per cent of this house and I can smash it up if I want" as he rained down blow after blow on the house.

When police arrested the defendant, they found a craft knife stashed in his pocket before he became increasingly agitated and attempted to resist arrest.

The Northern Echo: Paul LowePaul Lowe (Image: Durham Constabulary)

In a victim personal statement, Lowe’s brother-in-law said: “He does not care how much grief his is causing us.”

Lowe, of Coxwold Drive, Darlington, pleaded guilty to affray, possession of an axe, and possession of a craft knife, following his arrest in the early hours of July 7 this year.

Recorder Thomas Moran jailed Lowe for a total of 18-months after he used the axe during family home row.


Fallen banker

A Vietnamese banking director found himself tending a cannabis farm in the North East after he fell into debt and was smuggled into the country to repay it.

Le Van Cong was arrested following a raid on a three-storey property in Hartlepool town centre after a police drone heat map picked out suspicious activity at the premises on York Road.

The 37-year-old was looking after around 810 plants across eight rooms in the building and had a book full of instructions to tend the plants in his possessions.

Jonathan Walker, prosecuting, said the plants could yield between22.5kg and 68kg with a street value estimated to be worth up to £680,000.

He said the defendant told police he had arrived in the country from Ukraine and ordered to work to pay back his debt.

The Northern Echo: Le Van CongLe Van Cong (Image: Cleveland Police)

Cong, of York Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to production of a Class B drug after the cannabis was closed down on February 15 this year.

The court heard how the married father-of-two worked for a bank in his homeland until 2018 when he fell into debt and was forced to work to pay it off.

Recorder Andrew Dallas sentenced the Vietnamese cannabis farmer to 19-months in prison.


Violent brothers

A pair of brothers who stormed into a pub to deliver a brutal beating to a man celebrating his 21st birthday have been jailed for the violent assault.

Paul and Shaun Taylor delivered a series of punches before their victim was ‘thrashed’ with a bar stool after they had forced him to the ground.

The brothers continued to attack their victim while he was incapable of defending himself as he was propped against the bar in The Thorntree before knocking him unconscious.

Teesside Crown Court was shown CCTV footage of the shocking violence as other drinkers were forced to flee to safety and they rained down blows on the defenceless man.

The Northern Echo: Shaun TaylorShaun Taylor (Image: Cleveland Police)

Caroline McGurk said Paul Taylor threw the first punches before his elder brother joined in the brutal attack.

“Paul Taylor punched him to the ground,” she said. “Shaun Taylor hit him twice a chair and kicked him while he was on the ground – the kicked appeared to connect with his head and render him temporarily unconscious.

“The victim got back on his feet and Shaun Taylor continued to attack him by punching him.

“The attack was caught on the pub’s CCTV system.”

The Northern Echo: Paul TaylorPaul Taylor (Image: Cleveland Police)

In a personal impact statement, the man said he suffered nightmares about losing the sight in one of eyes after it was damaged in the unprovoked attack.

Paul Taylor, 35, of Morpeth Avenue, Marton, Middlesbrough, and his 38-year-old brother Shaun, of Fulbeck Road, Normanby, both pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm following the attack on August 1, 2021.

Judge Jonathan Carroll locked the pair up for 14-months apiece for the truly ‘vicious beating’.

“This was committed inside a public house,” he said. “The victim was minding his own business at the bar when you come and attacked him."


Danger to women

A man who was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) to protect women breached it within days of it being fully implemented.

Cleveland Police applied for an interim court order against John McClacklan to protect women amid concerns that his controlling behaviour could lead to sexual offending.

The temporary order barred the 42-year-old from staying in the same house as a woman unless they were aware of his court order and he also had to register a new address within three days of moving in.

Teesside Crown Court heard how McCLacklan was arrested in June when police found him living in a new home in Hartlepool while a mother and daughter were also sleeping at the address.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said the two offences also put him in breach of a suspended sentence imposed on him in July 2022 for assault.

The Northern Echo: John McClacklanJohn McClacklan (Image: Cleveland Police)

McClacklan, of Helmsley Street, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to two breaches of his sexual harm prevention order and a breach of a suspended sentence.

The defendant maintained that he had not received the conditions of the fully implemented SHPO.

Judge Chris Smith said: “I’m satisfied that you knew full well what the terms were and this was a serious and deliberate breach of the order.”

McCLacklan was sentenced for 15 months for all three offences.


Homeless burglar

A prolific burglar was caught after traces of his blood were recovered from the scene of his latest raid.

David Evans targeted a Stockton Brough Council office block and smashed his way in through a window before stealing electrical equipment.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 41-year-old left the local authority out of pocket to the tune of £2,620 following the burglary between January 23 and 24 this year.

Anthony Pettengell, prosecuting, the defendant was arrested after traces of his blood and DNA were recovered from the scene.

The court heard he 25 convictions for 55 offences, including 20 non-domestic burglaries and five dwelling house burglaries.

At the time of the burglary, Evans was serving a community order for a burglary at a dental practice in Norton but now finds himself back behind bars.

The Northern Echo: David EvansDavid Evans (Image: Cleveland Police)

Evans, of no fixed abode, was found guilty of the non-domestic burglary after failing to attend his trial. He did plead guilty to breaching his community order imposed for previous burglaries.

Nigel Soppitt, mitigating, said his client was ‘living a fairly tragic existence’ after being diagnosed with schizophrenia and living homeless for almost 20 years.

Recorder Andrew Dallas sentenced the serial offender to a total of 19 months in custody.

He said: “I’m not going to pass a sentence that will provide a long-term home in prison, so you’re going to have think about what you are going to do when you get out."


Serial burglar

A serial offender has been locked up after carrying out three shop burglaries in a fortnight to fund his drug habit.

Robert Thornton smashed his way into the Art Shop, Millets and B&M and stole goods from the stores in Darlington town centre during his latest crime spree.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 39-year-old used a weapon to gain entry before grabbing items from the window displays and running away.

The drug addict targeted The Art Shop on Bondgate on June 23, when he smashed a window to steal toys worth £240 and was identified by blood left on the window.

Thornton then targeted Millets on July 3 and police were called in the early hours of the morning after a pane of glass was smashed and four North Face T-shirts found next to broken glass but after a stock check it was discovered that 21 items had been stolen worth £590.

His third burglary took place five days later at the B&M store on High Northgate when two people were spotted on CCTV smashing a window and entering the store.

They stole razor blades, bottles of aftershave and perfume. Again, he was identified by a police officer who recognised his clothing.

The court heard how he has 39 convictions for 105 offences, including theft and non-dwelling burglaries.

The Northern Echo: Robert ThorntonRobert Thornton (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Thornton, of Brougham Street, Darlington, and formerly of Bouch Street, Shildon, pleaded guilty to all three burglaries.

Recorder David Brooke KC jailed Thornton up for a total of 21 months after the prolific burglar targeted the three town centre businesses.

He added: “You have a terrible dishonesty record which dates back to the 2000s and you carried out offences in dwellings and non-dwellings.

“Drugs are at the heart of it but you understand that is no mitigation.”


Repeat offender

A burglar who targeted the same business three times in a matter of days was caught red-handed on his latest crime spree.

Paul Smith forced his way into the Open Jar in Seaton Carew on three occasions over a two-week period and the prolific offender also raided the Staincliffe Hotel and Fish Face takeaway in June this year.

The 36-year-old was out on prison licence when he committed all five of the burglaries, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Dr Christopher Wood, prosecuting, said the defendant’s fingerprints were recovered from a glass and a vodka bottle after he prised open a security door of the seafront hotel in the early late on June 6.

He told the court how Smith then forced his way in the Fish Face takeaway in Seaton Carew at around 11pm on June 12. The defendant set of the alarm in the premises and fled the scene empty handed.

Dr Wood said the Open Jar was then targeted three times with the first happening on June 12 when he stole £250 in cash from the tills.

He returned on June 18 and this time he managed to steal £500 in cash and two laptops.

However, his crime spree came to an end on June 28 when he again targeted the same business but was caught in the act.

The Northern Echo: Paul SmithPaul Smith (Image: Cleveland Police)

Smith, of Rydal Street, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to five burglaries between June 10 and 28 this year.

Recorder David Brooke KC sentenced the serial offender to a total of 16 months after he targeted three businesses in his crime spree.

He said: “You have a conviction for robbery and were on licence at the time of these offences.

“It seems to me that the courts have tried in the past to help you and it seems there is no other alternative but prison here.”