A sex offender who travelled to London believing he was to meet a girl for a sexual liaison, was arrested having fallen for an online decoy “sting”.

Nathan Joseph Brennan was among several defendants jailed at Durham Crown Court, on Friday (November 3).

Brennan, who had used an alias name in online communication with the “child” prior to the arranged meeting, in June, was, therefore, guilty of breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), put in place after a previous conviction at the court, in December 2019.

Upon his arrest he was also found to have downloaded indecent images of children and passed on one category A indecent video.

The 32-year-old defendant, of Easington Street, Easington Colliery, admitted arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, two counts of breaching a SHPO, three counts of making indecent images of children and one count of distribution of an indecent video featuring children.

As he was considered to pose a risk of committing further sexual offences he received an extended determinate sentence.

It features an eight-year custodial element, of which the defendant must serve at least two-thirds, to be followed by a four-year period of licence supervision to monitor his behaviour and activities upon his release.

The Northern Echo: Top, from left, Nathan Brennan and David Smith, and bottom, from left, Scott Craig, Craig Beal and

David Smith, 38, of Hackworth Way, North Shields, received a total sentence of five years’ imprisonment after admitting controlling and coercive behaviour in a relationship, in which he was said to have caused a former partner “serious alarm or distress”, between December 2021 and July 23, this year.

He also admitted a further count of perverting the course of justice by repeatedly asking his former partner to withdraw her complaints to police about his behaviour, all in July this year.

The sentence was made up of 32 months for the controlling and coercive behaviour and 28 months for the perverting the course of justice offence, with the two terms to run consecutively.

Smith was also made subject of a 15-year restraining order relating to his ex-partner.

Alan McNamara, 24, of Ox Close, Spennymoor, received a 12-month prison sentence having previously admitted dangerous driving and driving without insurance.

It follows a police chase of a suspected stolen Vauxhall Astra, with the defendant at the wheel, starting in Sennymoor, shortly after 6am on Monday, October 2.

McNamara came to police attention doe to the speed of his driving and then ignored requests to stop, travelling at up to 90-miles per hour on 60-limit roads, and 70 on 30-restricted stretches in more residential and rural areas.

The seven-minute pursuit ended after McNamara drove straight out at a junction, failing to give way, almost hitting a passing vehicle, before coming to a stop in barbed wire fencing, off Wolsingham Road.

Four occupants of the Astra decamped and fled on foot, but the defendant, identified as the driver, was chased and caught in a nearby field.

Passing sentence, Judge Jo Kidd said on the defendant’s own admission he was, “as high as a kite”, at the time and he put the lives of himself, his passengers, the pursuing police and other road users at risk.

McNamara was also banned from driving for 18 months and must sit an extended re-test to be able to legally drive in future.

Scott Anthony Craig, 49, of Redwood Flats, Brandon, was given a three-year term of imprisonment, after admitting burglary of a former partner’s home, taking a handbag, containing her purse, cigarettes and a lighter, plus stalking her, persistently sending her voice mails, texts and trying to call her, after she ended their relationship in June.

Judge James Adkin said, given the fact he has two previous burglary offences on his record, there was nothing unjust in imposing the minimum term of three years, as a third-strike burglar.

He told Craig it was, effectively, a “revenge burglary” because his former partner had ended their relationship of a few months.

The defendant was also made subject of a ten-year restraining order forbidding any contact with or approaches to his ex-partner for ten years.

Craig Beal, 47, of Hawkshead Court, Newton Aycliffe, received a 31-month prison sentence after admitting two counts of stalking, relating to his former partner, after the court heard he, “did not take well”, to her splitting from him, at the end of March.

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His continuous threatening phone calls and messages were said to have caused her anxiety and distress and she described the, “pure terror” he put her though up to his arrest, although she said she is worried what he will do when released.

Passing sentence, Judge James Adkin told Beal he has, “a bad record for this sort of thing.”

He put in place a 15-year restraining order forbidding contact and approaches by Beal, relating to his ex-partner.