The Northern Echo is taking a look through the last 12 months to pick out some of the people who have found themselves locked up at Teesside Crown Court.



A prolific sneak thief who preyed on vulnerable, elderly women during a shocking crime spree has been locked up.

Wayne Robinson targeted the pensioners when they were out doing their shopping and either grabbed their handbags or snatched their purses in a series of daylight thefts.

The 33-year-old, who refused legal representation, told a judge he would represent himself during his sentencing hearing at Teesside Crown Court.

Jon Harley, prosecuting, said the three victims had all been badly affected by the actions of the defendant when he targeted them all in July last year.

The Northern Echo: Wayne RobinsonWayne Robinson (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Robinson, of Prescott Street, Darlington, pleaded guilty to three thefts, three charges of possession of a bladed article and a single charge of causing criminal damage.

Representing himself, he said: “I’m just going to let you sentence me and walk out this room and spend the rest of my life in jail.

“Nothing changes, it’s just a vicious cycle. I’m not going to put a defence forward; I’m just going to get sentenced and move on.”

Recorder Anthony Kelbrick jailed Robinson for a total of 34 months for his latest crime spree.



A burglar who left a pensioner terrified when she heard footsteps in her home in the middle of the night has been locked up.

Nathan Dunn crept into the house in Hartlepool and stole the keys the victim’s ‘lifeline’ car before it was driven off and crashed into a wall.

The 20-year-old, who was a passenger in the stolen car, was also caught on doorbell footage trying the handle of another victim’s home before turning his attention to three vehicles placed on the drive.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court that the spate of offences all took place in the early hours of October 11 last year at properties on Wisbeach Close.

The Northern Echo: Nathan DunnNathan Dunn (Image: Cleveland Police)

Dunn, of Jones Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to burglary, attempted burglary, theft of motor vehicle, and three charges of motor vehicle interference relating to a Vauxhall Corsa, Citroen C4 and Peugeot.

Tom Bennett, mitigating, said his client had Christmas on remand for the offences and urged the judge to impose a suspended sentence.

Recorder Mark McKone KC told Dunn that anybody who breaks into an elderly person’s home during the early hours of the morning should expect to be locked up.

Dunn was sent to a young offenders’ institute for a total of 27 months.



A young man who stole a coat and Halloween mask from a car during a crime spree in the early hours of the morning racially abused a police officer when he was arrested.

Tobie Robson was caught on CCTV trying to gain entry to a number of cars and homes as he prowled around the streets of Hartlepool on October 11 last year.

The 19-year-old was spotted rifling through a Peugeot car parked on Loyalty Close before he was later seen trying a door handle on a home before turning his attention to a car parked on the drive.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said Robson stole a jacket and Halloween mask from the car before putting the jacket on and walking away from the area.

The defendant was later seen trying the door handle of a property on Valley Drive where a father was asleep at home with his children.

The Northern Echo: Tobie RobsonTobie Robson (Image: Cleveland Police)

Robson, of Hamilton Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty two charges of attempted burglary, theft, two charges of motor vehicle interference, and a racially aggravated public order offence.

The court heard how the defendant was also in breach of a previous sentence for assaulting a police officer when he kicked her on the leg.

Recorder Mark McKone KC sent Robson to a young offenders’ institute for a total of 23 months.



A banned dangerous driver who took police on a 20-minute-long high-speed chase around the streets of a North East town has been locked up after almost crashing into an ambulance.

Daryn Hunter jumped in his car and sped off when he spotted a police car approaching him while he was parked up in Stockton.

The 26-year-old hit speeds in excess of 90mph as he attempted to shake off the attention of the police after they activated their blue lights.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Hunter forced an ambulance to take evasive action; almost collided with a parked taxi; sped through red lights, drove over grass verges; and drove at excessive speed.

The chase only came to an end when Hunter pulled over on New Earswick Street, in Stockton, and tried to run away from the pursuing officers.

When police caught up with him he continued to cause problems for officers until he was fully restrained and arrested.

The Northern Echo: Daryn HunterDaryn Hunter (Image: Cleveland Police)

Hunter, of Radnor Close, Stockton, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, possession of a bladed article, two charges of drug driving, and driving with no insurance.

Judge Howard Crowson sentenced Hunter to a total of two years for all offences.

“For about 20 minutes you drove very dangerously. It was too fast and caused a great deal of risk, fortunately no-one was harmed - that was only luck and nothing to do with your abilities as a driver,” he said.

Hunter was also banned from driving three years with a one-year extension to cover his time in custody.



A prolific criminal who has spent the vast majority of the last seventeen years behind bars has again been locked up for a string of attempted thefts and burglary.

Chronic alcoholic John Kirk was living in homeless in the rear of a van on a garage forecourt in Darlington when he was spotted trying the door handles of a number of vehicles in Darlington.

The 53-year-old was found carrying a lock knife when police turned up in Chesnut Street after he was spotted acting suspiciously near Billau Motorcycles on September 10 last year.

Uzma Khan, prosecuting, said the following day after his release on bail the defendant was caught trying the front door of a house on West Auckland Road in the town before rifling through a car.

The Northern Echo: John KirkJohn Kirk (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Kirk, of Elmfield Street, Darlington, pleaded guilty to attempted burglary, four charges of vehicle interference and possession of a bladed article.

Emma William, in mitigation, said her client was a chronic alcoholic who had been diagnosed with a serious liver condition while he was serving time on remand.

Judge Anthony James Brown sentenced him to a total of 30 months for all charges.

“Your history is a sad and depressing one,” he said. “You were a child in care and for a number of years you have struggled with problems with drugs and alcohol and that explains a great deal of the offending that you have been involved in."



A drug addict who turned to dealing to fund his habit has been jailed after police raided his home and found crack cocaine and prescription drugs.

Elliot Milner turned to using drugs when he lost his job as a joiner during the Covid epidemic, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The 22-year-old told officers exactly where to find the Class A and Class drugs when they stormed into his bedroom on Rydale Avenue, Billingham, on January 17, 2021.

Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said officers recovered 42 pregabalin tablets and 42 wraps of crack cocaine and seized an iPhone which contained a number of messages connected to drug dealing.

The Northern Echo: Elliot MilnerElliot Milner (Image: Cleveland Police)

Milner, now of Bowfell Close, Eaglescliffe, pleaded guilty to two charges of possession with intent to supply drugs and two charges of offering to sell the same drugs.

Kelleigh Lodge, mitigating, said her client had slipped into taking drugs after losing work during the Covid pandemic and turned to dealing to fund his own habit.

Judge Howard Crowson locked Milner up for two years for all charges.

He said: “This selling was, in my view, in order to fund your own habit, you are seeking assistance for that while you are in prison and that may well be your salvation.”



A depraved youth who repeatedly raped a young boy after grooming him with promises of dog walks and a mobile phone has been locked up.

Daniyal Hussain started sexually abusing the youngster when he was just a teenager himself before it came to an end after three years when he was almost caught red-handed.

The 22-year-old would pretend to take the pre-school youngster for long dog walks but instead would rape the boy before threatening him to stay quiet about the abuse.

Aisha Wadoodi, prosecuting, said a police investigation was launched after the victim’s older sister disclosed that her brother was being sexually abused.

Miss Wadoodi said the defendant admitted his guilt in a number of text messages but maintained throughout his trial that he had only done so as to not offend Pakistani elders who were quizzing him about his behaviour.

The Northern Echo: Daniyal HussainDaniyal Hussain (Image: Cleveland Police)

Hussain, of Thackeray Grove, Middlesbrough, was convicted of five counts of rape on a child under 13 and three charges of engaging in sexual activity with a child under 13 following a trial.

Timothy Jacobs, mitigating, said his client had shown of mixture of maturity and naivety throughout the investigation.

Recorder Tony Hawks told Hussain that his abuse had a ‘catastrophic’ effect on his victim’s relationship with his family and his mental health as he locked him up for 12 years.

Hussain was also issued with an indefinite restraining order to stay away from his victim and ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for life.



A pair of men who carried a sickening sexual assault on a woman they preyed on as she walked through Darlington town centre have been locked up.

Jakub Pulawski and Adam Garkzynski were caught on CCTV taking advantage of the victim in the early hours of the morning after they led her through the streets of the town.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the pair stopped outside the Premier Inn before Pulawski started to kiss and molest the woman despite her being heavily intoxicated and unable to give consent.

The Northern Echo: Jakub Pulawski Jakub Pulawski (Image: Durham Constabulary)

The footage captured the lengthy sexual assault as Garkzynski joined in and kissed the woman before molesting her beneath her clothing as they sat within 100 metres of the town’s police station.

The court heard that the pair had been stopped earlier by police who were concerned about her welfare but the woman told the officer that they were work colleagues, despite that not being the case.

The Northern Echo: Adam GarkzynskiAdam Garkzynski (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Garkzynski, of Thames Way, and Pulawski, of Cotherstone Moor Drive, both Darlington, pleaded guilty to sexual assault from May 2 last year.

Judge Chris Smith told the defendants that the offending merited a custodial sentence and locked them both up for 22 months a piece.

“I have seen the CCTV footage of what happened and she was obviously heavily intoxicated but you, Pulawski, sought to exploit that, effectively you moved her onto your lap. You can be seen touching her over her clothing in intimate areas.

“It’s obvious to me that she was unable to put up any meaningful resistance,” he added.

The 32-year-old and 24-year-old were also ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.



A thug who lost a fight rallied his friends before setting off on a revenge mission with them armed with a knife, a screwdriver and a hatchet, a court heard.

Keaton Gibson was given a ‘good hiding’ by the man before seeking retribution with Connor Smith and Josh White in tow.

When the three of them turned up at the victim’s house on Roseberry View, Thornaby, another confrontation erupted but this time the man was stabbed six times when he was knocked to the ground.

Damian Broadbent, prosecuting, said White was responsible for inflicting the stabs wounds to the man’s chest, backside and abdomen.

The judge told the defendants that they were lucky to not be facing more serious charges as the stabbings caused potentially ‘life-threatening injuries’.

The Northern Echo: Josh WhiteJosh White (Image: Cleveland Police)

White, of Mead Crescent, Thornaby, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and possession of a bladed article.

Philip Tully, representing the 22-year-old, said it was out of character for his client to be violent and expressed genuine remorse for the injuries he inflicted.

The Northern Echo: Keaton GibsonKeaton Gibson (Image: Cleveland Police)

Gibson, of Langley Avenue, Thornaby, was cleared of wounding with intent but also pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and possession of a hatchet.

Robert Mochrie, representing Gibson, said the defendant never intended to use the hatchet.

The Northern Echo: Connor SmithConnor Smith (Image: Cleveland Police)

While Smith, of no fixed abode, was found not guilty of wounding with intent but pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and possession of a pointed article – a screwdriver.

Michele Turner, on behalf of the 23-year-old, said Smith was very remorseful straight after the stabbing when he realised the severity of the attack.

Judge Timothy Stead told them that the stabbing would never have happened if Gibson had not rallied his friends to take part in the revenge attack and all three of them were armed.

White was jailed for eight years and six months for stabbing the victim while Gibson and Smith were locked up for three years for their role in the violence.



A thug has been locked up for two years for attacking an ex-partner while still handcuffed after escaping police custody.

His attack left a police officer with a broken finger when he fought with her to avoid arrest following a domestic dispute.

And to make matters even worse for Jack Williams, he returned to his former partner’s home and violently attacked her while still wearing the handcuffs.

The 21-year-old left his victim battered and bruised after hitting her and dragging her around by her hair, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The Northern Echo: Jack WilliamsJack Williams (Image: Cleveland Police)

Philip Morley, prosecuting, said Williams had dragged the police officer down the stairs while she desperately tried to hold onto the handcuffs after he shoved her to the ground midway through arresting him.

The court heard how a couple of hours later, still in the early hours of the morning of August 5 last year, Williams climbed through a window of his victim’s home and carried out a sustained attack on her.

Williams, of Kimmerton Avenue, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, escaping from lawful custody and possession of a Class B drug.

John Nixon, mitigating, said his client’s spell on remand had a salutary lesson and he apologised for his behaviour on the night.

Recorder Nathan Adams sentenced Williams to a total of two years in custody for all offences.



A drug dealer who made £500,000 from his illicit enterprise has been back in court to have his assets seized.

Michael Collins was initially arrested in August 2017 when he was caught with high-grade cocaine and amphetamine.

The 61-year-old was arrested again the following month when he was found with almost £10,000 in cash and more high-purity cocaine.

When he appeared over a video link at Teesside Crown Court he accepted that he had benefited to by half a million pounds during a proceeds of crime confiscation hearing.

The judge heard how Collins had £11,000 in realisable assets and he was ordered to pay it within three months or serve another six months in jail in default.

Cleveland Police seized more than £100,000 in drugs when they raided his former home in Hartlepool and a pub in Port Clarence in which he had an interest, said prosecutor Paul Abrahams.

He said that the agreed total benefit to Collins was £496,090 made up from £431, 605 from the case at Teesside Crown Court last September, and benefit of £64, 484 which was outstanding from an earlier drugs conviction at Newcastle Crown Court.

The Northern Echo: Michael CollinsMichael Collins (Image: Cleveland Police)

Collins, of Crosby Terrace, Port Clarence, had been convicted of supplying Class A, B and C drugs and possession of criminal property of £10,000 cash between 2017 and 2021.

Last September, the court heard that Collins was arrested three times 2021 for another raft of drug-related offences, all committed while he was under investigation for the 2017 charges.

Recorder David Gordon had sentenced Collins to a total of seven years and four months for all offences.



A would-be armed robber was identified by his two distinctive tattoos after he demanded cash from a shop owner while pointing a knife at him.

A masked Dean Ashworth walked into the A&A Johnson shop carrying a seven-inch kitchen knife before demanding that the owner filled a bag with cash.

The 47-year-old fled the scene emptied handed when the owner managed to trigger the emergency alarm, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said Ashworth’s distinctive tattoos, including one of a cartoon laughing joker on his hand and another of his son’s name on his arm, led to police being able to identify the suspect following an anonymous tip-off.

The aborted raid left the shop owner fearing for his life and resulted in him putting the shop up for sale after more than 40 years in the business.

The Northern Echo: Dean AshworthDean Ashworth (Image: Cleveland Police)

Ashworth, of Durham Street, Stockton, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of a bladed article following the incident on October 8, 2020, at around 8pm.

Simon Walker, mitigating, said his client had only recently revealed that he had suffered childhood trauma which resulted in his longstanding alcohol and drug problems.

Judge Timothy Stead told the defendant his actions had ruined the victim’s livelihood as he sentenced Ashworth to four years and eight months in prison.

He said: “You went into the store, you produced a kitchen knife and you were masked at the time. You held it out and threatened the man who was about two feet away and then demanded he fill the bag with money."



A violent teenage thug repeatedly smashed in bottle into the face of a taxi driver after he was squirted in his eyes with a noxious liquid during a mob-handed robbery.

Declan Day and two other unidentified assailants launched the vicious attack on the man after getting him to take them to quiet area of Park End in Middlesbrough.

The 18-year was not satisfied with attacking the taxi driver and robbing him once, he left and returned to the parked car and repeatedly punched him and hit to the face with a bottle on a two further occasions.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the victim suffered cuts and bruising to his face, head and leg as well as requiring hospital treatment to rinse the alkaline solution out of his eyes.

The Northern Echo: Declan DayDeclan Day (Image: Cleveland Police)

Day, of Overdale Road, Middlesbrough, was found guilty of robbery and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He had pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker when he spat at a police officer as he was arrested after hiding on the roof of a bingo hall.

The two other people involved in the violent attack in the early hours of May 12 last year have not been located, the court heard.

John Nixon, mitigating, said his client continues to deny being responsible for the attack and disputes that he was the person caught on CCTV getting into the taxi on Parliament Road, Middlesbrough.

Judge Jonathan Carroll passed an extended nine-year sentence for the teenager due to the persistent and brutal attack on the taxi driver.

He said: “These offences are genuinely shocking in the extent of the group violence you engaged in and the persistence with which the offence was committed.

“It was persistent and gratuitously in excess of what was needed for you to take your victim’s money.”




The estranged husband who stabbed Sally Turner 68 times in her daughter’s home has been locked up after he launched the brutal attack when he became ‘obsessed’ with her sexual activity.

Harry Turner was branded ‘selfish’ for the sustained attack on his wife after he learned she was having an affair with a taxi driver.

The 50-year-old suffered a catalogue of injuries in the sustained assault with Turner having to use a second knife after damaging the blade of a kitchen knife due to the ferocity of the attack.

Mrs Turner was described as a loving grandmother as Judge James Adkin sentenced the 54-year-old postal worker to life in prison with a minimum term of 17 years and 120 days.

Jurors had heard how Turner admitted attacking his wife on June 22 last year but denied murder as he had no recollection of carrying out the fatal assault.

Turner was unanimously convicted of Sally Turner’s murder in her daughter’s house on Cuthbert Avenue, Durham, following a trial at Teesside Crown Court.

The Northern Echo: Harry TurnerHarry Turner (Image: Durham Constabulary)

The judge said: “You had launched a brutal attack on her, stabbing her with a large kitchen knife until that broke and then going back to the kitchen, selecting another knife and continuing to attack her."



A mother has spoken of  her heartbreak as Mark Robinson's killer is locked up for ten years.

Mark Robinson died more than a year after he suffered a brutal beating at the hands of Raymond Whincup over a row about a £20 debt.

The 40-year-old suffered catastrophic head injuries when he was knocked unconscious while he was staying in a friend’s flat in Redcar.

Whincup was heavily intoxicated when he attacked Mr Robinson in the early hours of July 28, 2020, Teesside Crown Court heard.

He was jailed for ten years after admitting the manslaughter of his victim midway through his murder trial.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Robinson’s family said: “Regardless of the indictment we all know that had it not been for the medical treatment Mark received on 28th July 2020, he would have died that morning in Station Road having suffered traumatic brain injury because of a vicious, sustained and unprovoked assault from Raymond Whincup."

A medical expert told jurors how Mr Robinson had suffered two fractures to his jaw, two fractures to bones in his spinal column and three broken ribs.

The Northern Echo: Raymond WhincupRaymond Whincup (Image: Cleveland Police)

He was visiting Mr Gregory at his flat when Whincup and Lewis Skelton turned up before the three of them headed up the accused’s upstairs flat to spend their time drinking.

But Whincup left to go downstairs and when Mr Gregory returned to his downstairs flat, he found Mr Robinson lying injured on the floor.

Another witness Lewis Skelton, who has since died, told his mother that Whincup had ‘knocked out’ Mr Robinson before they fled the scene together.

Mr Robinson never fully recovered from his injuries and died in August 2021.



A pervert who arranged to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex was caught by online paedophile hunters who had been posing as the teenager.

Adam Gruter turned up at the KFC in Darlington in the hope of meeting the teenager but was confronted by members of the Child Online Safety Team who filmed the confrontation face-off.

Teesside Crown Court heard how a woman posing as the teenager had spent several days speaking with the defendant online before the conversation turned sexual and he sent her an indecent picture of himself.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said the defendant had sent a number of messages on WhatsApp after befriending the decoy on Facebook.

The 43-year-old, of Elm Park Gardens, London, pleaded guilty to inciting or causing a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to meet a child following grooming.

Judge Timothy Stead sentenced Gruter to 20 months in custody for both offences after acknowledging that the intended victim was not actually a 14-year-old girl.

He added: “During the exchanges... you demonstrated your intention to carry out this through to a sexual meeting by booking a hotel room.”

The Northern Echo: Adam GruterAdam Gruter (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Gruter was also made subject to a ten-year sexual harm prevention order and will have to sign the sex offenders’ register for the same period of time.



A violent thug who punched, kicked, and strangled, a woman in her own house has been locked up for the brutal, sustained assault.

Jonathan Dobson launched the unprovoked attack on his new partner when he got drunk while helping her to build a new bed.

The 40-year-old left his victim too terrified to return to her Darlington home where the violent assault took place, Teesside Crown Court heard.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she was scared that he was going to kill her as she blacked out while he was strangling her.

The violence outburst started when the victim tried to get Dobson to leave her home when he became agitated and placed her hands on him to guide him out of the front door.

The judge heard how the defendant continued to kick and punch his victim while she was on the ground before strangling her again.

The Northern Echo: Jonathan DobsonJonathan Dobson (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Dobson, of Acacia Street, Darlington, was found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm at magistrates court and sent to Crown Court for sentencing.

Kelleigh Lodge, mitigating, said her client’s mental health had suffered following his father’s suicide and he had turned to drink and drugs to cope.

She added that he had sought help to address his alcohol problem following the attack on May 30 last year.

Recorder Andrew Latimer sentenced Dobson to 28 months in custody and made him subject to a seven-year restraining order.



A masked armed robber who battered a shopkeeper before throwing a stolen till at a police officer’s head has been locked up.

Matthew Taylor walked into Takhar Stores armed with a knife before forcing his way behind the counter and demanding the woman hand over cash.

The brave shopkeeper refused before the 27-year-old punched her to the face and pushed her forcefully into a pile of boxes on several occasions.

CCTV from inside the Thornaby store showed the defendant terrorising the woman while a colleague is trying force him out of the shop by hitting him with a sweeping brush.

In a victim personal statement, she said the robbery had left her feeling anxious while working in the shop she had owned for more than 20 years.

The Northern Echo: Matthew TaylorMatthew Taylor (Image: Cleveland Police)

She said: “This was a pre-planned, he knew what he was doing and targeted this business because he knew only women were working there.”

Taylor, of Peel Street, Thornaby, pleaded guilty to robbery, possessing bladed article in a public place and assault on an emergency worker.

Kelleigh Lodge, mitigating, said the father-of-two had shown genuine remorse for the robbery and for the injuries he caused to his victims.

Recorder Andrew Latimer sentenced Taylor to a total of five years and six months for all offences.



A row between two tenants in a block of flats resulted in one setting a fire in the other’s room while he was in a ‘mental health’ crisis.

Mark Armit took advantage when the victim left the flats and headed into Darlington town centre, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The 42-year-old entered his rivals flat and started a fire on the sofa and in a bin before returning to his own flat.

Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said the alarm was raised when the victim returned to his flat to discover the property filled with smoke and fires smouldering in the bin and on a sofa on October 8 last year.

When Armit eventually left the flats, he was carrying a kitchen knife and began to racially abuse one the police officers, the court heard.

The Northern Echo: Mark ArmitMark Armit (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Armit, of Montrose Street, Darlington, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether he endangered life, possession of a bladed article and racially aggravated harassment.

He was also convicted of breaching a suspended sentence imposed for a commercial premises burglary.

Martin Towers, mitigating, said his client was in the grip of a mental health crisis at the time when he started the fires.

Judge Stephen Ashurst accepted the defendant’s mental health issues had contributed to his offending as he jailed him for a total of three years and six months.



A pervert who shared sickening videos of young children being sexually abused and possessing a copy of the ‘paedophile handbook’ has been locked up.

Police raided the Teesside home of Alan Willis following a tip-off from the National Crime Agency after his online activity roused their interest.

A search of his home resulted in the seizure of a mobile phone where specialist officers recovered more than 200 videos of children being sexually abused, with one lasting for around 35 minutes.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 57-year-old had downloaded 124 Category A files; 52 files of Category B; and a further 47 Category C files.

Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said the police found evidence of Willis sharing some of the videos with other perverts using the online messenger service Telegram.

The forensic examination of the defendant’s phone also showed how he had shared more than 20 videos with two other people over the encrypted network between July 1 and July 22 last year.

The Northern Echo: Alan WillisAlan Willis (Image: Cleveland Police)

Willis, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to making indecent images of children in Categories A, B, and C, as well as a charge of distributing child abuse images and possession of a ‘paedophile manual’.

John Nixon, mitigating, said his client had lost his family and his good reputation following his admissions.

Judge Timothy Stead sentenced Willis to a total of two years for all offences telling him that custody was the only option available to him.

Willis was also made subject to a ten-year sexual harm prevention order and told he must sign on the sex offenders’ register for the same period of time.



A drunken thug who twice strangled his long-term partner in an alcohol-fuelled attack has been locked up.

Sean Bradley was drinking with a friend and his partner in his Darlington home when he flew into a drunken rage and violently attacked her.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 49-year-old destroyed his ex-partner’s phone before smashing up the house they shared in November last year.

Nigel Soppitt, prosecuting, said the defendant’s victim became concerned about his ‘intimidating’ behaviour after she found him and the friend sprawled on the floor and moved to anther room in the house.

The court heard how Bradley followed her into the other room before launching his violent attack on her.

The Northern Echo: Sean BradleySean Bradley (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Bradley, now of Highland Gardens, Shildon, pleaded guilty to two charges of non-fatal strangulation and a further charge of criminal damage.

Representing himself in court, he said: “I’m ashamed to be here before you today. There’s no excuse for what I have done.”

Recorder Harry Vann jailed the defendant for a total of 20 months for all offences.

“This was a devastating event for your victim,” he said. “On November 22, whilst in significant drink, you embarked on 30 minutes of violence and strangled her twice.

“You also destroyed a significant of property inside her home.”

Bradley was also issued with a five-year restraining order to protect the victim.



A pensioner paedophile has been jailed for sexually abusing a young schoolgirl before telling her he would be ‘killed’ if she told anyone about it.

John Dawson was branded a ‘monster’ after he carried out his vile attacks on the youngster last year and bravely, she plucked up the courage to tell her parents despite the pervert’s mind games.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 81-year-old kissed the child before sexually assaulting her.

Jane Waugh, prosecuting, said the girl told her father what had happened to her and the police were called.

In a victim impact statement, the child’s mother said Dawson’s sickening attack had left her family devastated and called Dawson a ‘monster’.

She wrote: “How do I put into words what you have to me and my family? You have hurt my daughter and you have done something to her that we will never be able to forgive you for.”

The Northern Echo: John DawsonJohn Dawson (Image: Cleveland Police)

Dawson, of Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to two charges of digital penetration of a child under 13 and a further charge of sexual assault on a child under 13.

Judge Jonathan Carroll sentenced Dawson to eight years in prison for the sickening attack and the threats made towards the young girl.

“Any case of sexual violence is a tragedy, even more so when the victim is a young child,” he said.



Two thugs who carried out a knifepoint robbery of a teenager and a man while they were fishing have been locked up for the terrifying attack.

Jay Bryson and Brandon Dalkin stole a £600 gold ring and an iPhone when they targeted the pair while they were relaxing at some fishing ponds in Stillington.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the older man handed over his mobile phone in an attempt to distract the pair while they were threatening the teenager with a knife.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, told the judge how Bryson had also knocked a man out with a brick when he was drinking in his garden before hitting a woman who tried to intervene.

Describing the robbery, Mr Sabiston said both victims were terrified when Dalkin pulled out a knife and demanded the teenager handover the gold ring while threatening to ‘slash him up’ on February 18, 2019.

The Northern Echo: Jay BrysonJay Bryson (Image: Cleveland Police)

Bryson and Dalkin both pleaded guilty to two charges of robbery, the court heard.

Bryson, of Hive Close, also pleaded guilty to wounding a man with intent and assault following the incident on June 9, 2021.

Victoria Smith-Swain, representing the 28-year-old, said that attack took place on the day of his grandmother’s funeral.

The Northern Echo: Brandon DalkinBrandon Dalkin (Image: Cleveland Police)

And David Lamb KC, representing 23-year-old Dalkin, said his client’s brother had died three weeks before the robbery and had been struggling to come to terms with his loss.

Judge Jonathan Carroll told both men that their behaviour had a lasting impact on their victims’ lives as he locked them up.

Bryson was jailed for a total of nine years and one month while Dalkin was sentenced to six years and eight months.



A wheelchair using burglar and his accomplice have been locked up after causing £20,000 worth of damage to a bar during a break in.

Michael Flanagan was caught on CCTV dragging himself around the floor inside Spensley’s Emporium while Sam Puckrin was seen to wandering around with stolen bottle of alcohol.

Teesside Crown Court heard how a third alleged accomplice is due to stand trial at a later date following the burglary on October 13, 2021.

The pair also admitted burgling a house in Middlesbrough where Puckrin forced entry and ransacked the property while Flanagan remained outside the property on Tennyson Street before loading his wheelchair with stolen goods.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said the victims of the house burglary on August 8, 2020, were left devastated by the loss of £3,000 worth of goods and items of sentimental value.

The Northern Echo: Sam PuckrinSam Puckrin (Image: Cleveland Police)

Puckrin, of Letitia Street, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to burglary of a dwelling and burglary of a commercial premises.

Robert Mochrie, representing the 44-year-old, said his client had been benefiting from his ‘enforced sobriety’ while on remand.

Get more from The Northern Echo with a Premium Plus digital subscription from as little as only £1.50 a week.

While Flanagan, who now lives in London, pleaded guilty to the same two charges as well as assault on an emergency worker, possession of cannabis and a bail act offence.

The Northern Echo: Michael FlanaganMichael Flanagan (Image: Cleveland Police)

The court heard that Flanagan became involved in an altercation with a police officer, on November 9, 2020, when the officer was leaving Middlesbrough police station and he saw him ‘kicking out at a stationary car’.

The 50-year-old became aggressive and as the officer got hold of his wheelchair – he hit him in the face and pulled his mask off. He was later found with a small amount of cannabis.

Recorder Marco Giuliani said: “Mr Puckrin, you gained entry to the house by breaking a window. This offending was devastating for the victims. The country was in lockdown, and you were out and about burgling.

"You both committed another burglary at Spensley's Emporium. You, Mr Flanagan were captured rolling around on the floor, carrying a bottle."

Puckrin was jailed for two years while his co-accused Flanagan was locked up for two years and 11 months.



A Darlington man’s disturbing violent and sexual behaviour has resulted in him being locked up.

Shaun O’Connor, known as ‘Chop-Off’, sexually assaulted two women, exposed himself to another, assaulted an innocent man and carried out a sickening sex act in a police station cell after his arrest.

The 40-year-old, who represented himself in court, regularly interrupted proceedings at Teesside Crown Court with outbursts of shouting and erratic behaviour whilst appearing via video-link from Durham Prison.

Tabitha Buck, prosecuting, said the defendant grabbed a woman in the post office on Coleridge Gardens, Darlington, before gyrating in a sexual manner against her and making lewd remarks.

The court heard how police were called and O’Connor was arrested and taken to Darlington Police Station where he performed the sex act in front of a custody officer.

O’Connor also walked into the Dalesman Hotel despite being barred by staff, walked upstairs and was confronted by a woman.

The Northern Echo: Shaun O'ConnorShaun O'Connor (Image: Durham Constabulary)

He also assaulted a man outside the Greyhound pub on Parkgate when he punched him into the road where he collided with a stationary car.

O’Connor, of Pateley Moor Crescent, Darlington, pleaded guilty to sexual assault, exposure, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Judge Howard Crowson sentenced O’Connor for a total of two years for all the offences.



A promising young footballer’s fledgling career was derailed by his addiction to cocaine which culminated with him robbing his own grandmother.

Joseph Dykins’ life spiralled out of control after he started using the Class A drug and was kicked out of a football academy in Darlington.

The 23-year-old’s troubling behaviour came to a head when he pushed his grandmother to ground after spitting in her face as he demanded she hand over cash to fund his habit before stamping on her mobile phone.

The court heard how the defendant repeatedly called his grandmother begging for cash before turning up at her home and demanding she give him the money.

The Northern Echo: Joseph DykinsJoseph Dykins (Image: Cleveland Police)

Dykins, of Peel Street, Thornaby, pleaded guilty to robbery, harassment and criminal damage when he attacked his grandmother on January 17.

Michele Turner, mitigating, said her client’s family were helping him to ‘fight the beast’ of addiction and wanted him to get the help he needed.

Recorder Richard Woolfall sentenced Dykins to three years and four months in prison for his campaign of harassment and bullying against his grandmother.

“You have a history of targeting your grandmother and causing her distress – she says she has been bullied by you for six years,” he said.



A motorist who reached speeds of 130mph in a vain attempt to evade the police has been locked up after his shocking driving was shown to a judge.

Ryan Hall was told that he was ‘fortunate’ not to have killed someone as he continued to drive at 100mph despite having a blow-out of one of the tyres on his BMW as he raced along the A167.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 27-year-old managed to slip past a police Stinger in the village of Great Smeaton, between Northallerton and Darlington, by mounting the kerb and forcing his way through stationary traffic.

For more than four minutes Hall raced towards Darlington with up to four police vehicles in pursuit before coming off the A167 and losing control of the car in Croft-on-Tees.

The judge heard how the BMW veered off the A167 at the Croft Hotel before racing past the church along Monkend Terrace and coming to a shuddering halt in a ditch before he leapt from the car and tried to flee the scene by jumping into the River Tees.

The Northern Echo: Ryan HallRyan Hall (Image: North Yorkshire Police)

Hall, of Fairfax Road, Middleton St George, near Darlington, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and using a fraudulent document.

Peter Sabiston, mitigating, said the defendant accepted that his driving warranted a custodial sentence.

A judge sentenced Hall to nine months in prison for both offences.

He said: “This was an extremely serious offence of dangerous driving, a car in the wrong hands is akin to a potentially lethal weapon."

Hall was also banned from driving for two years following his dangerous driving conviction.



A sexual deviant who was arrested carrying a BB gun and handcuffs when he turned up at a railway station to meet a ‘14-year-old’ girl was prepared for an abduction attempt, a judge said.

Hendrick Groenewoud had been unwittingly chatting online with a decoy when he made the arrangements to meet up for sex in January last year, Teesside Crown Court heard.

When he arrived at Middlesbrough railway station, he was confronted by members of an online vigilante paedophile hunting team before he was arrested by police on January 13, 2022.

Recorder Thomas Moran said: “You had on you a BB gun and some handcuffs and were interviewed by police and said you had gone to meet the girl knowing she was 14."

Sentencing Groenewoud to 20-months in prison, he added: “I am in no doubt you intended, if necessary, the abduction or detention of the girl – that’s the only sensible interpretation of why you had a handgun and handcuffs with you.”

The Northern Echo: Hendrick GroenewoudHendrick Groenewoud (Image: Cleveland Police)

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said Groenewoud had engaged in conversations with two ‘teenage girls’ in December 21. The first he sent an explicit picture of himself after sending sexual messages to her and the second he arranged to meet up with for sex.

The 60-year-old, of Portman Street, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to two charges of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and a further charge of attempting to meet a girl under 16 years of age following grooming.

Nicci Horton, mitigating, said: “It has taken him sometime to accept how serious these offences are – he now accepts what he has done.”



A convicted murderer has been found guilty of handling a sawn-off shotgun after his fingerprints and DNA were found on the trigger of the weapon.

Brandon Ali was jailed for 21-years last August when a drug feud ended in deadly violence and Carl Eland was deliberately rammed from his pushbike by a Vauxhall Insignia which the defendant was travelling in.

In March, he has been found guilty of possession of a prohibited firearm found buried in a children’s play area in Middlesbrough, less than two years before the callous murder.

His co-accused George Lammie was also found guilty of the same charge after his DNA was recovered from the black bin bag the weapon was concealed in.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the shotgun was found buried in woodland at the rear of the playing fields off Henry Street, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, in October 2019.

Jurors had heard how the weapon was not fully functional but a specialist police firearms officers had been able to get one of the barrels to fire but the three cartridges found with the shotgun were the wrong calibre.

During his evidence, Ali said he had been involved in legitimate clay pigeon shooting since he was 12 and could have touched the weapon during that period.

The Northern Echo: Brandon AliBrandon Ali

Lammie, of Villette Path, Hendon, Sunderland, had told jurors that he had never knowingly touched the shotgun but accepted his DNA could have been transferred to the bag after someone tried to sell him a weapon.

The Northern Echo: George LammieGeorge Lammie (Image: Cleveland Police)

Recorder Andrew Sutcliffe KC sentenced Ali to three years and Lammie to five years in prison.



A drink-fuelled thug who hit one man on the head with a hammer before bursting into another man’s flat while he was on the hunt for drugs has been locked up.

Rhys Hunter was knocking on doors in Darlington looking for a man called ‘Shufty’ so he could buy some ‘sniff’ when his erratic behaviour descended into violence.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 26-year-old left his first victim with a gash to the head after attacking him outside his home on the Eastbourne estate in April last year.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said the defendant smashed a window of the victim’s home before throwing the hammer at a neighbour’s window and confronting the victim’s 21-year-old son who had come out to help his father.

The judge heard how Hunter then turned up at a nearby address on Stocksmoor Close where he confronted a couple in flat and demanded to be able to buy ‘sniff’ – cocaine.

The Northern Echo: Rhys HunterRhys Hunter (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Hunter, of Esk Road, Darlington, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, possession of an offensive weapon in a private place, threatening behaviour, and criminal damage following the events of April 18 last year.

In a letter to the judge, Hunter apologised for his violent behaviour saying: “I can’t imagine the pain and distress I have caused these victims.”

Recorder Robert Ward sentenced Hunter to a total of 40 months for all offences while praising him for his efforts to address his alcohol problem.

He said: “It is made more serious that the offences were committed when you were drunk and had no recollection of the night.”



A woman who launched a tirade of vile abuse and threats to kill a former friend has been locked up for a terrifying campaign of abuse.

Mary Dixon told the woman that she was ‘going to slit her throat and watch her bleed out’ in a barrage of abuse Facebook posts.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 29-year-old threatened the stamp on her woman’s head and warned her ‘you had better watch out, Mary is about’ during a disturbing case of harassment.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said the defendant had a long history of threatening behaviour with 23 previous convictions for 47 offences going back to 2015, including threats to blow up the victim’s home.

Dixon who has previous convictions for breaching restraining orders and harassment, broke an order banning her from contacting her latest victim and went as far as sending the victim a picture of her own house to warn her she knew where she lived.

The judge heard how the threats went on for several years after the friend blocked her on Facebook after they fell out.

Miss Atkinson said the vile abuse left the victim fearing for her safety and in a victim impact statement, she said ‘she just wants to be left alone’.

She added: "The defendant told her - “I’m going to f***ing kill you. I’m going to come to your house tonight and bomb you.”

The Northern Echo: Mary DixonMary Dixon (Image: Cleveland Police)

Dixon, formerly from Stockton but now of Souter View, Whitburn, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to making threats to kill and harassment on November 21, 2021.

John Nixon, mitigating said some of Dixon’s previous victims had not taken the threats seriously but accepted that his client had made ‘idle’ threats to kill but no evidence she ever acted on those threats.

Recorder Aisha Wadoodi said the defendant had targeted at least five other victims and repeatedly harassed them, even telling one woman that she ‘would cut her baby out’.

Dixon was jailed for three years.



A pervert who took photographs and videos of a young girl getting undressed and using a bathroom has been locked up after admitting voyeurism.

Corey Brown was caught with hundreds of images after police searched his mobile phone and camera pen hidden in a bathroom, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The 25-year-old’s sickening behaviour was eventually discovered when the girl revealed to a teacher what had been happening to her over a protracted period of time.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said the offending had had a devastating impact on the young victims and she was still struggling to come to terms what had happened to her.

In a victim impact statement, the child’s mother said her daughter had been left traumatised by the defendant’s sick behaviour.

The Northern Echo: Corey BrownCorey Brown (Image: Cleveland Police)

Brown, of Midfield View, Stockton, pleaded guilty to three charges of voyeurism, one charge of making indecent images of a child in Category B, and a further charge of making 725 indecent images of a child in Category C.

Andrew Stranex, mitigating, said his client had now faced up to what he had done in his pre-sentence report.

Recorder Thomas Moran jailed Brown from one-year for his sexually deviant behaviour over a two-year period.

“The victim said it has ruined two-years of her life, hopefully, it won’t ruin the rest of her life but it is clearly going to affect her going forward and is now having counselling.

“She has written down her feelings about what happened and that is an extremely troubling document – it records how she feels as a direct result of what you did to her,” he said.