Here are some of the most serious offenders who faced justice at Newcastle and Teesside Crown Court in May.

The cases include two murderers, a killer, perverts, drug dealers and violent men from across the region who have been locked up.

Ahmed Ali Alid

An Islamic extremist has been jailed for 45 years for the murder of a pensioner and attempted murder of his flat mate after he was inspired by the Gaza conflict.

A judge branded him a 'dangerous offender' who used violence to attempt to influence the government over its stance on Israel's actions following the invasion last October.

Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb DBE said Ahmed Ali Alid told the police he wanted to kill them because of the conflict in Gaza and so that Palestine would be free from “Zionists” and repeatedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he carried out the attacks.

Jurors had heard how Alid picked up to knives before forcing his way into his housemate’s room and stabbing him in the chest as he slept.

The 45-year-old Moroccan asylum seeker was overpowered by Javed Nouri despite his serious injuries and he fled the scene.

Teesside Crown Court heard how minutes later he came across the unsuspecting Hartlepool pensioner as he took his regular early morning stroll.

The Northern Echo: Ahmed Ali AlidAhmed Ali Alid (Image: Counter Terrorism Police North East)

Alid, of Wharton Terrace, Hartlepool, circled back on Terrence Carney before launching his murderous attack on the defenceless 70-year-old and stabbed him repeatedly before leaving him to die in the street.

Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb DBE branded the asylum seeker a terrorist as she jailed him for life after he was convicted of the murder and attempted murder.

The judge told the defendant that he would not be considered for parole until he had served 44 year and 52 days after taking into account the length of time he had served on remand.


Harry Turner

A man who savagely stabbed his estranged wife to death in a jealous rage has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the ‘murderous attack’.

Harry Turner used two knives to repeatedly stab his victim while she was in her daughter’s home before placing his wedding ring in front of her face as a final reminder of why he did it.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how the 50-year-old was found in a pool of blood after she failed to pick up her beloved granddaughter from school in June 2022.

The Judge, Mrs Justice Lambert, branded the 55-year-old postman a self-pitying man as she sentenced Turner to life imprisonment for the murder of the mother-of-four.

Turner was convicted of murder following a retrial after the Court of Appeal quashed his original conviction from February last year when a jury found him guilty of murder.

The Northern Echo: Sally Turner was murdered by her estranged husband, Harry, in DurhamSally Turner was murdered by her estranged husband, Harry, in Durham (Image: Newsquest)

The court heard how Mrs Turner had begun a relationship with a taxi driver, who took her disabled granddaughter to school, following the breakdown of their relationship.

The judge said: “Just as you were expressing your fond feelings for her, she had received a sexually explicit text message from the taxi driver.

“I’m sure that when you were back at Cuthbert Avenue, you either saw that or for some reason showed that message to you or you otherwise became aware she was enjoying a sexual relationship with the taxi driver.

“This was the impetus for your murderous attack.”

Mrs Turner suffered 78 wounds, including defence injuries, from at least 68 knife blows with the deepest being 11cm deep and one was so powerful that it broke her shoulder blade while another broke one of her ribs.

Mrs Justice Lambert told Turner that she rejected his claim that he had been triggered by Sally whispering in his ear that he would ‘never see the girls again’ during a friendly meet up at her daughter’s home on Cuthbert Avenue, Durham.

Turner, of Tiree Close, Brandon, was told he would serve a minimum term of 18 years starting from the date of his original conviction in February last year.


James Mitchell

A motorcyclist who killed a pedestrian when he smashed into him at high speed on his off-road bike has been locked up.

James Mitchell was seen popping wheelies and overtaking cars as he raced along a road in excess of 66mph in the moments leading up to the fatal collision.

The 29-year-old hit Steven Roberts with such force that the impact resulted in the 43-year-old being pronounced dead at the scene near Darlington town centre.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Mitchell had bought the 350KTM off-road bike of the day of the fatal collision on February 11 last year and traces of cannabis were discovered in his bloodstream.

Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, the 29-year-old was travelling at about 60 mph at the time and the impact threw Mr Roberts into street furniture.

And despite the best efforts of medics, he was pronounced dead at the scene on the B6279 Haughton Road, near Bannatyne's, in Darlington.

The court heard how Mitchell had relevant previous conviction for motoring offences dating back to 2008, including taking a vehicle without the owner's consent, aggravated vehicle taking and failing to stop following an accident.

The Northern Echo: James MitchellJames Mitchell (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Mitchell, of Killinghall Street, Darlington, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Judge Nathan Adams told the defendant that the blame for the fatal collision ‘lies squarely’ on him.

He said: "The way you decided to ride that vehicle is what brings us here today. You had cannabis in your system but the driving itself was at high speed and clearly dangerous.

"I have watched the CCTV which quite clearly shows the build-up and the incident itself.

"It was clearly highly excessive speed and clearly dangerous overtaking vehicles at that speed and the incident was over in a split second."

Mitchell was jailed for ten and a half years and banned from driving for 14 years for killing Mr Stevens.


Richard Kelly

A suicidal man who deliberately smashed his car through railings after speeding through a red light has been jailed after he narrowly avoided a ‘catastrophe’.

Richard Kelly was travelling so fast that his Ford Puma crashed into the wall of the Hippodrome theatre in Darlington town centre during rush-hour traffic whilst intoxicated.

The 47-year-old was given a suspended prison sentence two days earlier after he was caught driving with a knife in his car in another attempt to take his own life.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the ex-member of the armed forces had been struggling with his mental health while suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

The Northern Echo: Richard KellyRichard Kelly (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Kelly, of Bourne Court, Darlington, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving after the crash on March 3 this year.

Nigel Soppitt, mitigating, said his client had suffered from significant mental health problems and had made a number of attempts to take his own life.

Judge Richard Bennett told the defendant that he was lucky that his driving had not resulted in a ‘catastrophic’ accident as he jailed him for 12 months.

He said: “It is highly fortunate that no pedestrians were in your path.

“It was only pure chance that a pedestrian was not walking past at that particular times.

“The impact could have been catastrophic. If anyone had been in your path, I have no doubt that they would have been killed.”

Kelly was also banned from driving for 16 months.


Stephen Nolan

A pervert who sexually assaulted two young girls while they slept has been locked up for two years.

Stephen Nolan remains in ‘complete denial’ about his sickening behaviour after he was convicted of abusing the girls, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The 41-year-old crept into the bedroom where the young girls were sleeping before sexually assaulting them on separate occasions.

Jon Harley, prosecuting, said the attacks have had a devastating impact on the lives of the two young girls.

He said the first victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, awoke to find the defendant touching her leg while she was in bed.

And the second victim awoke to discover Nolan stroking her chest before he quickly left the bedroom of the property in Darlington.

Mr Harley said both sexual assaults happened within a couple of weeks a few years ago.

The Northern Echo: Stephen NolanStephen Nolan (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Nolan, now of Brabourn Gardens, Hemlington, Middlesbrough, was convicted of two charges of sexual assault on children following a trial.

Chris Baker, mitigating, said his client suffers from health problems and it is clear that a term in custody could impact his mental health.

Judge Stephen Ashurst jailed Nolan for a total of two years for both offences against the young girls as he ‘remains in complete denial’ about his offending.

“What you did was sneak into the bedrooms, you thought both girls were asleep and you took the opportunity to touch each girl indecently,” he said.

“It’s quite clear from the evidence that you must have obtained some sexual thrill from that."


Mohammed Rafiq

An industrial scale operation flooding the region with more than £3m worth of illicit drugs was brought down after a kidnap plot was foiled by police.

Police stopped a vehicle they thought looked suspicious and found the kidnap victim after the suspects fled the scene.

One of them was tracked down to his home in Sunderland before the investigation uncovered a network of suspects operating across the country.

Officers recovered a loaded 9mm Glock firearm before using mobile phone records to track down a number of storage units being used to hide an industrial scale pill making operation and more than two kilos of heroin.

In another container officers found three million Etizolam tablets, a Class C drug, which police valued being worth around £3m.

Sue Hirst, prosecuting, said a key linking Mohammed Rafiq to the multi-million-pound drug operation was recovered from a housing belonging to a co-accused who was tied up with the aborted kidnap attempt.

She said the complex investigation traced storage containers to the gang on the A66 just outside Darlington and at Portrack Lane in Stockton, in April 2021.

Rafiq came to the police’s attention when he told a member of staff at U Hold The Key that he had lost his key and wanted to gain access to the unit near Sadberge, which was rented out in his name.

The Northern Echo: Mohammed RafiqMohammed Rafiq (Image: Cleveland Police)

Rafiq, formerly from Teesside but living in Manchester at the time of the raids, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A drug – heroin; conspiracy to produce a Class C drug; conspiracy to supply a Class C drug; and possession of criminal property.

Judge Chris Smith sentenced Rafiq to eight years in prison for his role in the ‘industrial scale’ drug operation.

“This case involves serious drug trafficking and those who involve themselves in the drugs trade frequently exploit the misery of addiction for their own end, for financial gain and that was clearly what was happening here,” he said.


Thomas Smith

A man who abused a couple’s hospitality before threatening the vulnerable pair has been jailed after he tried to force them to change their statements while in custody.

Thomas Smith became abusive and threatening when the woman refused to make him a sandwich while staying in their Darlington home.

The 28-year-old kicked off and made a series of threats before storming out after spending six-months staying at their home, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said Smith later returned to the property after he was released from court and demanded that the couple give him £1,000 in cash.

The court heard how Smith was arrested and remanded in custody where a number of his telephone calls were recorded and monitored.

Mr Dryden said the calls started on March 28 last year when he asked someone to go their home and get them to retract their statements to police.

On April 5, 2023, the defendant was recorded telling someone to go and ask them how much money they want to stop co-operating with the police.

The Northern Echo: Thomas SmithThomas Smith (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Smith, of Coleridge Gardens, Darlington, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and making threats causing fear of harm.

Judge Richard Bennett sentenced the defendant to 15 and a half months in custody.

“You were homed, fed and your washing was done. Indeed, you became so used to them doing what you wanted that you demanded that the woman make and bring you sandwiches and that seems to have been the final straw,” he said.


Christopher Martin

A man who broke into his ex-partner’s house out of an act of ‘spite’ before driving at a police officer as he tried to flee the scene has been jailed.

Christopher Martin was caught on a Ring doorbell by his ex as he burgled her home, stealing a TV, two drills and bank cards before taking his victim's car.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the woman called the police while the burglary unfolded before her eyes.

Cainan Lonsdale, prosecuting, said the 38-year-old left a note in the house for his partner to find when she returned home saying ‘just so you know, I saw you the other night’.

After leaving the house with the stolen items he is seem getting into his victim’s VW Beetle and reversing from the driveway as the police arrived on the scene.

Mr Lonsdale said the defendant was remanded in custody a few days after he was charged following the burglary when he returned to the victim’s home.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she was now too scared to stay in her home on her own as she no longer feels safe.

The Northern Echo: Christopher MartinChristopher Martin (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Martin, of Barden Moor Road, Darlington, pleaded guilty to burglary, careless driving, assault emergency worker, driving without insurance and driving without a licence following his actions on November 15 last year.

Victoria Lamballe, mitigating, said her client carried out the burglary ‘out of spite’ rather than for financial gain.

Recorder Andrew Dallas told the defendant that his actions had significantly impacted on his victim’s life, leaving her fearing for her safety.

He said: “You went to her home but you knew you had no business to go into – whether it was out of spite or inquisitive, I don’t know but neither reflects well on you."

Martin was sentenced to a total of 980 days – approximately two years and eight months – for all offences.

He was also banned from driving for 672 days.


Danny Oxley


A drunken thug who attacked his partner after she tried to escape after he screwed her front door shut just days after he admitted threatening to stab neighbours has been jailed.

Danny Oxley grabbed his partner around the neck as she tried to flee her flat before he dragged her back inside the property and ‘launched' himself at her, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The 32-year-old’s attack caused the woman to hit her head against the wall leaving her with a gash above her eyebrow which required gluing at hospital after they had spent the night drinking together in Darlington.

Jessica Butterell, prosecuting, said the attack happened three days after the defendant was arrested following reports of a domestic incident and he kicked a police officer in the arrest as they tried to get him into the van.

The Northern Echo: Danny OxleyDanny Oxley (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Oxley, of no fixed abode but formerly Darlington, pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article, using threatening words or behaviour, assaulting an emergency worker, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Kelleigh Lodge, mitigating, said her client has significant mental health issues and reacted to threats being made against him when he picked up the knife.

Judge Richard Bennett sentenced Oxley to a total of 34 months for all offences.

Oxley was made the subject of a restraining order, prohibiting him from contacting the woman for 10 years.

The judge added: “You grabbed her and placed your hands around her neck. You launched yourself at her which caused her to lose her balance and hit her head against the wall.”


James Wilson

A violent man who repeatedly raped and beat a woman has been branded a ‘dangerous young man’ as a judge passed a 14-year sentence.

James Wilson threw boiling water at his victim, attacked her with a baseball bat and published an intimate photograph of the woman during a campaign of abuse.

The 22-year-old would regularly threaten the woman and her family to ensure she did as he required, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said on one occasion Wilson punched the woman in the face before throwing ammonia at her.

He said on another occasion the defendant threw a kettle of boiling water at her and beat her around the legs with a baseball bat leaving her with a broken ankle.

The court heard how the defendant had a previous conviction for burglary on the same victim’s home and was serving a suspended sentence at the time of some of the offences.

In a victim personal statement, the woman told the judge that she was now too afraid to stay in her own home as she feared what Wilson would do to her.

The Northern Echo: James WilsonJames Wilson (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Wilson, of Honeypot Lane Caravan Site, Darlington, was convicted of two counts of rape, grievous bodily harm with intent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, disclosing private sexual photographs and coercive and controlling behaviour following a trial.

He had previously pleaded guilty to sending threatening messages and breaching a restraining order on the day his trial started.

Judge Chris Smith called the Darlington rapist a ‘dangerous young man’ as he sentenced him to 12 years in prison with two years on extended licence.

“You are a dangerous young man. Your inability to control yourself led to you engaging in manipulative behaviour, culminating in those violent assaults and serious sexual offending,” he said.

Wilson was also made subject to an indefinite restraining order to protect his victim and was told to sign on the sex offenders’ register for life.


Roy Foster

A sexual predator found guilty of raping two woman, attempting to rape another, and abducting a child was branded a dangerous offender as he was sentenced to more than 30 years.

Roy Foster preyed on vulnerable women and children to satisfy his sexual urges, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The 63-year-old’s first offences happened several years ago, before he re-started his sexual offending 40 years later.

Ian West, prosecuting, said the defendant had targeted four different females to satisfy his sexual needs and his offences had significantly impacted on them.

The victim of his first sexual assault and rape, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she had lived with the guilt and shame for decades before he told the police what had happened to her more than 40 years later.

Foster’s second victim was a vulnerable woman who the defendant had targeted before sexually assaulting her twice and attempting to rape her.

The third victim was a vulnerable teenager who the defendant would buy alcohol for before he twice raped her.

And the final victim was a young girl who the defendant persuaded to go into his house before a member of the public intervened and removed the child to safety.

The Northern Echo: Roy FosterRoy Foster (Image: Cleveland Police)

Foster, of Low Grange Avenue, Billingham, was convicted of three counts of rape, two counts of attempted rape, one count of indecent assault, one count of sexual assault and one count of child abduction with intent to commit a sexual offence.

Judge Jonathan Carroll passed a 32-year sentence – 29 years in prison and three years on extended licence - after Foster was convicted following a trial.

He said: “You still don’t recognise your guilt; you still don’t accept your criminal responsibility.

“You still continue to display a sense of sexual entitlement. I am entirely satisfied that you meet the test of a dangerous offender that you pose a serious risk of harm to the public.”


Christopher Grundy

A predatory sex offender has been jailed for abusing a teenager and downloading more than 100 child sex abuse images.

Christopher Grundy, posting as Boylover44, was caught by an undercover police officer posing as a pervert with similar sexual interests.

The 52-year-old asked the officer to move onto an encrypted messaging service before sharing sickening descriptions of his sexual proclivities with him.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Grundy went on to sexually abuse a vulnerable 17-year-old while he was already on bail for downloading the child abuse images.

Rebecca Brown, prosecuting, said a further check of the defendant’s mobile phone recovered further child sex abuse images.

She said police officers also recovered extracts of conversations with other like-minded people where Grundy spoke off his sexual desires and asked for indecent images of children.

The Northern Echo: Christopher GrundyChristopher Grundy (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Grundy, of Darlington, pleaded guilty to six charges of downloading child abuse images and one charge of downloading an extreme pornographic image involving an animal.

He was found guilty of three charges of sexual assault after he attacked on the teenager between October 28 and 31 last year following a trial.

The judge heard how the defendant had a previous conviction for sexual assault on a teenage boy dating back to the late 90s.

Judge Richard Bennett branded Grundy’s behaviour as ‘predatory’ as he jailed him for a total of five years for all offences.

“You were much older and he was encountering a number of difficulties in their life,” he said.

“You were aware of that and you were aware that he had a difficult relationship with his mother.

“It is clear that you were sexually attracted to him and used their vulnerability to your advantage.”

Grundy was issued with an indefinite restraining order to protect the victim and ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for life as well as being made subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.