Killers, sex offenders, drug dealers and violent thugs among those locked up at Teesside Crown Court between October and December.

The Northern Echo has pulled together a list of some of the most serious offenders facing justice.

See them below and find out why they were jailed.



Drug dealing granny

A grandmother at the heart of a family drug supply network has been locked up for more than five years.

Amada Sharp was arrested three times in just a matter of weeks while in possession of a quantity of cocaine and amphetamine as well as other paraphernalia associated with the illicit drug trade.

The 54-year-old, who has a long history of drug offences on her record, was allegedly involved with supplying the Class A and B drugs with her son and grandson.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Amanda SharpAmanda Sharp (Image: Cleveland Police)

The court heard that police raided Sharp’s home on Essex Road, Middlesbrough, on April 14 and recovered a stash of cocaine and amphetamine hidden in the pockets of her grandson’s dressing gown.

Sharp pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine and amphetamine, and a charge of simple possession of a Class B drug.

Recorder Peter Makepeace KC sentenced Sharp to a total of five years and three months for all charges telling her she was the ‘gift who kept giving’ to police for her repeated offending.

“It is a truly appalling record of previous convictions for drug supply, it has obviously been your business for a significant part of your life,” he said.


Crack dealer

A crack cocaine dealer has been jailed after he was caught in a sting when he repeatedly sold the drug to an undercover police officer.

Jay Curry sold the officer a £20 deal on a number of occasions in January and February last year and he was introduced to him by two addicts.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 34-year-old handed over his mobile telephone number to the officer and subsequently set up a number of further deals over a five-week period.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, the officer befriended two drug users on Yarm Road in Stockton as they were making their way to buy drugs of a person called ‘Jay’ and went with them to buy a £20 deal on January 9 last year.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Jay CurryJay Curry (Image: Cleveland Police)

Curry, of Whitley Road, Thornaby, pleaded guilty to being concerned with the supply of crack cocaine and three charges of supplying crack cocaine to the undercover police officer.

Recorder Mark McKone KC locked Curry up for a total of three years and nine months for all charges.

“You were supplying Class A drugs over a period of five weeks,” he said. “You were caught supplying £20 deals to undercover police officers.

“Your case is that you were a drug user and built up a debt and were supplying to repay that debt."


Fire starter

A man who set fire to his own flat during a drug-induced psychosis before jumping from a third-floor window has been locked up.

Karl Britton barricaded the door of his flat with weights and a fridge before starting the blaze in the block of flats in Darlington in June this year.

The 34-year-old was then seen walking towards the town centre carrying a large knife and a metal bar.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the blaze caused £3,000 worth of damage to the flats on Trinity Road that house vulnerable in the town.

In police interview, the defendant told officers he was paranoid and believed someone was following him.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Karl BrittonKarl Britton (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Britton, of Brougham Street, Darlington, pleaded guilty to causing arson being reckless to whether lives would be endangered and possession of a bladed article.

Recorder Mark McKone KC jailed Britton for two years before urging him to take the opportunity to address his amphetamine addiction.

He added: “I have seen the photographs of the inside of your flat where significant damage has been caused, I’m surprised to hear the damage caused was only £3,000.

“Fortunately, no one else suffered fire damage in their flat.”


Bullying thug

A bullying man who carried out a campaign of harassment and stalking on his partner over a seven-year period has been jailed.

Michael Rochford threatened to drown his former partner and dragged her around a room by her hair during their relationship before continuing his reign of terror after the relationship broke down.

The 30-year-old belittled and abused his victim throughout their relationship and even threatened to assault her when she was pregnant with their child.

James Yearsley, prosecuting, said the defendant’s abuse took place from January 1, 2012, and April 30, 2019, while the pair were in a relationship but continued even after they had split up.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Michael RochfordMichael Rochford (Image: Cleveland Police)

Rochford, of Topcliffe Street, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to putting person in fear of violence through harassment and stalking, involving the fear of violence, alarm, or serious stress.

Michael Cahill, in mitigation, said his client had suffered from mental health for some time but accepted that it was ‘no excuse’ for his offending.

Judge Chris Smith jailed Rochford for three years and nine months for his bullying behaviour and stalking.

He said: “She describes, over a number of years, a pattern of bullying behaviour by you which included threats of serious violence, that you would drown her in the bath, you threatened her when she was pregnant with your child and you were witnessed dragging your partner by the hair.

“This was a pattern of behaviour over a seven-year period and it has had a significant effect on her."


Predatory rapist

A 'predatory' child rapist has been jailed for more than a decade after targeting a vulnerable young girl two decades ago.

Michael Scott, who has a number of convictions for sexual offences, was found guilty of raping the young girl following a trial at Teesside Crown Court.

The 45-year-old’s depraved attack left his young victim traumatised and she is still struggling to come to terms with the impact of his rape.

In a victim impact statement, she told the court how throughout her childhood and into adulthood she had suffered from anxiety and struggled with trusting people.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Michael ScottMichael Scott (Image: Cleveland Police)

Scott, of Dufton Road, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, was found guilty of a single count of rape, which occurred in the late 90s, despite refusing to take part in the trial.

Judge Paul Watson KC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, branded Scott a ‘predatory sexual offender’ as he locked him up for 12 years and issued him with a one-year extended licence.

He said: “It’s plain from her victim impact statement the offence of rape you committed towards her has had a lasting and damaging effect on her.”

Scott was issued with an indefinite sexual harm prevention order, ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for life, and an indefinite restraining order.


Pervert teacher

A sick teacher who groomed a teenage girl after sending a video of himself carrying out a sex act and asking her if he could whip her with his tie has been locked up.

David Amos was tasked with contacting the County Durham student during the early days of the Covid pandemic but instead used his time to engage in sexual conversations with the girl.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the sexualised talk between the pair started on Snapchat before moving onto other social media platforms.

Richard Bennett, prosecuting, said the 30-year-old coerced the teenager to send a photograph of her naked bottom after he had sent her a number of images of his penis.

Darlington and Stockton Times: David AmosDavid Amos (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Amos, of Lumley Road, Durham, pleaded guilty to causing a child to watch sexual activity and a charge of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Amrit Jandoo, in mitigation, said his client had struggled during lockdown after his relationship collapsed but understood his behaviour would result in the end of his promising teaching career.

Judge Chris Smith sentenced the former teacher to a total of 30 months in custody.

He added: “I have read some of the messages, there is a degree of cajoling or pressurising her to engage in sexual activity within the context of what is a gross breach of trust.”

Amos was also ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for life and was made subject to a ten-year sexual harm prevention order.


Child rapist

A pervert who sexually abused and raped a young girl when he was just a teenager has finally been locked up as justice caught up with him.

Stuart Jackson carried out a number of sickening sexual assaults on the young girl when she was under ten-years-old.

The 43-year-old’s offending took place more than two decades ago when he aged around 17, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Jackson, of Richmond Place, Thornaby, was found guilty of a catalogue of offences, including rape and serious sexual assault, following a trial earlier this year.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Stuart JacksonStuart Jackson (Image: Cleveland Police)

Judge Chris Smith said: “You subjected your victim to sexual assault in a variety of different ways. The first episode involved multiple assaults and you second attack her was similarly multifaceted - both amounts to sustained sexual assaults.”

Jackson was locked up for a total of 16 years and six months and was issued with an indefinite restraining order to protect his victim and ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for life.

Judge Smith added: “With great dignity and real clarity, this victim outlined to the court the effect your offending had on her. How psychologically she was affected immediately as a young girl; how as she grew older, she suffered flashbacks; and how medication and counselling had brought only limited relief from the depression and anxiety caused by your offending.”


Sick rapist

A vile rapist who attacked a teenager in a remote location after riding away with her on the back of his motorbike has been locked up for almost 13 years.

Lee Mason let the teenager sit on his motorbike for some photographs following a night out in Middlesbrough before speeding away from her friends and safety.

The 27-year-old took the terrified teenager to a remote location where he carried out two sexual assaults before riding off to an even more remote location where he subjected his young victim to a traumatic rape.

Aisha Wadoodi, prosecuting, said the teenager’s horrific physical ordeal only came to an end when Mason dropped her off near one of her friend’s homes and she managed to call the police.

In a heart-breaking victim impact statement, the woman said the mere sound of a motorbike leaves her terrified and her life has been destroyed by the lasting psychological damage caused by her rape.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Lee MasonLee Mason (Image: Cleveland Police)

Mason, of Hartington Road, Stockton, pleaded guilty to rape, assault by penetration, and sexual assault, following the attack on April 24 this year.

Victoria Lamballe, in mitigation, said her client now fully accepts being responsible for everything that his teenage victim told police.

Judge Howard Crowson sentenced the father-of-two to a total of 12 years and nine months in prison.

“The effect on her continues, it was dreadful at the time and it continues now. For periods she has been unable to eat or sleep properly or go to work,” he said.


Killer driver

A cocaine-addled driver who killed his 15-year-old friend when he smashed into an oncoming car when he lost control of a Land Rover Discovery has been jailed.

Brandon Jefferson-Howe had been drinking and taking drugs in the hours leading up to the fatal collision in the early hours of Saturday, July 30, this year.

The 20-year-old, who has never held a driving licence, refused to give police the name of his passenger leaving Connor Thompson’s family anxiously waiting for several hours before their son could be formally identified.

Jefferson-Howe, of Trefoil Court, Norton, near Stockton, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, no insurance, and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Brandon Jefferson-HoweBrandon Jefferson-Howe (Image: Cleveland Police)

Judge Howard Crowson sentenced the driver to five years in custody and banned him from driving for seven-and-a-half years.

“The sentence that I impose doesn’t not, nor try to, measure the worth of Connor’s life or the grieving of his loss, which will be long-lived because his life has been tragically cut short,” he said.


Violent thugs

Two thugs who got drunk on the day they appeared in court charged with a violent armed confrontation left a man suffering serious injuries when they kicked his head like a football.

Sean Carroll and Jamie Hunt attacked the man, punching and kicking to the ground, as they walked through Middlesbrough town centre on March 13 this year.

The brutal attack resulted in the man having part of his skull removed to ease the swelling of his brain after he was repeatedly kicked to the head with such ferocity that he was left with a trainer print on his forehead.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Jamie HuntJamie Hunt (Image: Cleveland Police)

Teesside Crown Court heard how the pair has spent the day drinking after appearing at the same court charged with affray and violent disorder after they became embroiled in a fight with Mark Nicholson.

An eye witness had described the men kicking their victim’s head like a football.

Carroll, of Firby Close, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm from that incident and using threatening behaviour, insulting words with intent to cause fear and provoking violence during the earlier incident.

The 33-year-old also pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis from August 26, 2021; threatening to damage property from August 18 last year; and fraud from October 4, 2021.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Sean CarrollSean Carroll (Image: Cleveland Police)

His co-accused, Hunt, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm from that incident from the Middlesbrough attack.

The 30-year-old, of Jameson Road, Hartlepool, was also convicted of affray and possession of an offensive weapon from the July 2021 incident.

While Nicholson, 38, of Frederick Street, Seaham, pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon after brandishing the golf club during the fight with Hunt.

Judge Howard Crowson jailed Carroll for four years for all offences; Hunt for three years and nine months; and passed a nine-month sentence, suspended for 12 months for Nicholson and ordered him to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.


Threatening salesman

A threatening and intimidating dodgy fish salesman who ripped off at least 110 vulnerable or elderly customers raked in almost £250,000 over a three-year period.

Craig Henderson even had the audacity to ramp up the cost further as the age of his target increased – one as old as 105, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The 50-year-old continued to travel all over the country flogging his unsafe fish to unsuspecting victims throughout the Covid outbreak which rendered many of his victims housebound.

A judge heard how the unscrupulous businessman used his ill-gotten gains to fund his drink and drug addictions.

Sabrina Goodchild, prosecuting, said investigators were able to attribute £246,000 of fish sales going through the defendant’s bank account between November 2017 and June 21.

Henderson, of Fir Avenue, Durham, but formerly of Chester-le-Street, pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading over a three-and-a-half year period.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Craig HendersonCraig Henderson (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Judge Howard Crowson jailed Henderson for five years and seven months after targeting the vulnerable victims.

“Your methods included aggressive, misleading and dishonest sales techniques. It is perfectly clear that you were deliberately targeting areas where there was a high number of vulnerable or elderly people,” he said.


Domestic Violence

A bullying man who inflicted a seven-year reign of terror on his partner has been locked up for more than two years.

Keith Fleetham subjected his partner to vile abuse, threats and violence, throughout their relationship.

His threatening presence was so severe that his partner’s child wet themselves because they were too frightened to leave a room to go to the toilet, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The court how Fleetham had pinned the woman to the wall with his hands around her throat during one argument and he demanded that she tell him her pin number for her bank card.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Keith FleethamKeith Fleetham (Image: Cleveland Police)

The 51-year-old pushed his wife’s friend over and she was knocked unconscious after hitting her head on a concrete slab, the court heard.

The defendant then grabbed some keys from his wife’s hand which resulted in her fingernail being ripped off.

Fleetham, of Whin Meadows, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to coercive and controlling behaviour and two counts of assault.

Recorder Aisha Wadoodi sentenced Fleetham to a total of 25 months in custody for his seven-year campaign of abuse.

She said: “You accept that you called your wife abusive names – ‘a fat lazy *** and b******’ and you accept you called her abusive names in front of the children.”


Prolific offender

A prolific criminal is back behind bars after going on a burglary and theft spree in Darlington.

Lee Geldart knocked over the pensioner whose home he burgled when he jumped behind the wheel of her car and drove off after stealing the keys.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the woman suffered no injuries as a result but had been left traumatised by the burglary of her home.

Tabitha Buck, prosecuting, said the 48-year-old’s latest crime spree started on April 12 when he stole food, candles and shopping basket from the One Stop Shop, a theft of £1,000 worth of DeWalt tools from a car on April 14.

On April 20 he stole Grenade Bars and Alcohol from the Blackwell Post Office and on the same day he carried out the burglary on Grangeside, Darlington.

Miss Buck said the defendant also pleaded guilty to driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance after stealing the victim’s car.

His last offence took place between April 27 and May 5 when he was caught with a handbag and purse stolen during a burglary.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Lee GeldartLee Geldart (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Geldart, of Dinsdale Court, Darlington, pleaded guilty to all offences.

The court heard how he had 39 convictions for 100 offences, including charges of burglary and theft, and was serving two suspended sentences at the time of the latest offences.

Geldart, who sobbed at times during the hearing, was jailed for three years and four months for all charges.

Judge Peter Armstrong said: “You had stolen jewellery, a mobile phone and her car keys, and when you left you took her car and drove off, accidentally knocking into her, fortunately she was not seriously injured.”




Drugs warehouse

A man forced into storing drugs after turning to a loan shark for financial help started dealing to make extra cash.

A stash of cocaine, cannabis and ketamine was recovered from Andrew Appleton's property when he attempted to commit suicide, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The 49-year-old initially started off acting as a ‘warehouseman’ for a drug dealer before selling the Class A and B drugs himself.

The court heard how 12kg of cannabis, worth up to £48,000, was recovered from the defendant’s Middlesbrough home.

Officers also seized 8.53 grammes of cocaine, worth up to £850, and 248g of ketamine.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Andrew AppletonAndrew Appleton (Image: Cleveland Police)

Appleton, of Cedar Terrace, Port Clarence, near Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to three charges of possession with intent to supply cocaine, cannabis and ketamine. He was also found guilty for three charges of supplying the same three types of drugs following a trial.

Judge Jonathan Carroll sentenced the defendant to three years in custody for all charges which took place over a two-month period around January 2021.

He said: “I’m prepared to accept that you became involved in drug dealing through the pressure of other people, you had borrowed money from a loan shark and tried to set up your own home."


Snapchat pervert

A convicted sex offender has been jailed after he contacted a number of under-16 girls from a secret digital tablet.

Anthony Metcalfe adopted an alias in conversations with the girls on Snapchat from his home in an outhouse behind a relative’s address in Hartlepool.

The 34-year-old, who was a registered sex offender for life since he was convicted in 2015 of three sexual assaults on children, messaged the youngsters with comments, including ‘nice bum’ and ‘beautiful’.

His ban on contact with children was from a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) which was also imposed in 2015 and he was later jailed for 16 months for breaching it five times, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Anthony MetcalfeAnthony Metcalfe (Image: Cleveland Police)

The court heard how the defendant had 25 convictions for 47 offences, including failing to tell a mother he was visiting at her home that he was a convicted sex offender.

Metcalfe, of Willow Walk, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to six breaches of SHPO and two breaches of his notification requirements.

Judge Howard Crowson sentenced Metcalfe to two years and eight months for the breaches.

He said: “Given your history, I have a real anxiety about the risk that you pose. These are serious and persistent breaches, contact with six different children, some really young and at risk of very serious harm.”


Armed robber

A masked armed robber left a shop worker fearing for her life when he pointed a pistol in her face and ordered her to ‘open the f****** till’.

Andrew Vaughan was wearing a mask with his hood up when he calmly walked into a One Stop Shop and threatened staff with the weapon.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 29-year-old had smashed his way into his father’s locked bedroom to steal the air weapon and carry out the robbery of the shop in Eaglescliffe on June 17 this year.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Andrew VaughanAndrew Vaughan (Image: Cleveland Police)

The defendant grabbed £320 in cash and £47.94 in postage stamps before walking from behind the counter and waving the gun at another member of staff to get her out of the way.

Vaughan, now of Shaftesbury Street, Stockton, pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.

Tom Bennett, in mitigation, said his client fully accepted his behaviour and wanted to apologise for the distress he had caused the two women shop workers.

The court heard how the 29-year-old turned to robbery after racking up a drug debt to feed his cocaine habit.

Recorder Mark McKone KC jailed Vaughan for four years and ten months.


Spitting thug

A vile thug who spat at the face of a police officer when he was being arrested for causing a disturbance has been locked up.

Dean Nixon was wrestled to the floor before having a spit-hood fitted after the officer was left with spit running down the side of his face.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 42-year-old was serving a suspended sentence for assaulting his ex-partner when the disgusting attack took place on June 6.

Nixon, of Laycock Street, Middlesbrough, was found guilty of assaulting an emergency worker when he failed to turn up for an appearance at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard how Nixon had 69 previous convictions including for violence and drug offences.

The defendant pleaded guilty to breaching his restraining order and possession of drugs.

Recorder Mark McKone KC activated part of Nixon’s nine-month suspended sentence and locked him up for a total of 11 months for all offences.

He added: “You spat at the officer, some went into his eye and mouth; that is not only very unpleasant but something that a police officer would worry about from a health point of view.”


Drunken robbery

A drunken man who robbed his former partner of £50 when he turned up at her home and attacked her has been locked up.

Gary Bartle grabbed the woman and shook her about before managing to rifle through her pockets and snatch the money which he claimed she owed his mother.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the victim had managed to initially fight off the 37-year-old and escape her home after she kicked him.

Bartle caught up with the woman while she was on the phone to the police and managed to grab the cash and escape on March 29 this year.

Uzma Khan, prosecuting, said the following day the defendant messaged the victim to apologise and over the following days they exchange messages.

However, on April 5 the messages took a ‘sinister turn’ the court heard which resulted in another confrontation where Bartle threatened to burn down the home of the victim’s mother.

The court heard how the defendant has 17 previous convictions for offences including burglary and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Craig BartleCraig Bartle (Image: Cleveland Police)

Bartle pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery and making threats to damage property just before he was due to go on trial.

Recorder Mark McKone KC locked Bartle up for a total of 32 months for the robbery and threats to damage property.

He added: “The robbery is aggravated because you were under the influence of drink at the time.”

Bartle, of Bruntoft Avenue, Hartlepool, was also made subject of a five-year restraining order to stay away from his ex-partner.


Callous thief

A judge has blasted a man who stole almost £20,000 from his partner’s mother in a cruel theft of her life’s savings.

Jake Ferguson used the ruse of hoovering his victim’s bedroom but instead rifled through a locked box stashed under her bed and stole £18,400 and a number of sentimental items.

His theft only came to light when one of the victim’s sons noticed £100 had gone missing from his bedroom and his mother decided to check her money hadn’t been touched.

Kate Barnes, prosecuting, said the money had been saved up to use as a deposit for a house following the death of the victim’s husband.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said the theft had resulted in her not being able to get a mortgage and left her feeling as though her trust had been betrayed.

Ferguson, of Bristow Street, Middlesbrough, was found guilty of two charges of theft following a three-day trial.

The 30-year-old’s sentence had been deferred to enable the defendant to save up the money and repay his victims.

Judge Howard Crowson branded Ferguson a ‘dishonest man’ as he locked him up for 18 months.

He said: “I’m afraid I don’t believe anything you say. It seems to me that you are a dishonest man and you are happy to try and lie your way out of this."


Racist attack

A pair of young thugs took part in a racially motivated attack which left a man with blood pouring from a deep knife wound to his arm.

The 16 and 15-year-old boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, carried out the sickening attack on an Asian couple at their own home.

Teesside Crown Court heard how it was the 15-year-old who shouted - ‘black b******’ at a woman before threatening to ‘cut everybody up’.

When the woman’s partner came out of their Thornaby home to confront the pair he was slashed three times across the arm leaving him needing hospital treatment.

Uzma Khan, prosecuting, said the pair turned up at the couple’s home on Thornaby Road, in the middle of the afternoon on October 3.

She said following the slashing the victim ‘felt dizzy and sick’ and his wife thought he was going to die as a result of his injuries.

The pair both pleaded guilty causing grievous bodily harm with intent following the violence last month and they both pleaded to an affray from the same incident.

Judge Howard Crowson said: “You both went to the victims’ home, you both had gloves on and one of you had a large knife in your hand – the other didn’t have a weapon of any kind but you wore gloves.

“The husband came to the door and as he challenged you, you pulled that knife out of its sheath and struck him three times and you cut his arm quite badly before you both ran away.”

The judge sentenced the 15-year-old to two years and four months in a young offenders’ institute and ordered that the 16-year-old would be made subject of a two-year youth referral order and issued him with a 16-week overnight curfew.


Sick abuser

A pervert who systematically preyed on three young boys over a 15-year period has been locked up for almost 20 years.

David Gillender’s horrendous sexual abuse had a devastating impact on his three victims, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The 66-year-old’s reign of terror over the boys lasted from for different periods of time from the mid-80s until the early-00s.

Simon Reevell, prosecuting, said Gillender was found guilty of 14 charges of sexual activity with the three victims while he was living in the Redcar area following a trial earlier this year.

Andrew Petterson, in mitigation, urged the judge to bear in mind the age of the offences and said his client was of previous good character.

Judge Chris Smith jailed Gillender for a total of 17 years and six months with an extended licence period of one-year once he released from custody.

He said: “Each of your victims was subjected to a sustained period of sexual abuse at your hands. Each of your victims felt they were robbed of their childhood by you.”

Gillender, of Mansfield Mews, Quedgeley, Gloucestershire, was also placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.


Sick pervert

A pervert who groomed a vulnerable teenager before driving for two hours to carry out a sickening sex attack on her has been branded a ‘domineering and bullying’ man.

Aaron Scanlon manipulated the girl into believing that he loved her before threatening to send an intimidating message to her mother to tell her he was going to ‘f*** her daughter’ all over.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 30-year-old sexually assaulted the girl in his BMW after driving from Rochdale to pick the teenager up before she went to school.

The court heard how the defendant had travelled to Darlington on an earlier occasion but the teenager ignored his pleas to meet him.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Aaron ScanlonAaron Scanlon (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Scanlon, now of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to assault by penetration and engage in sexual activity without consent following the incident on March 5 last year.

Judge Jonathan Carroll branded Scanlon as ‘domineering and bullying’ as he passed a sentenced of 15 years and one month.

“You travelled to her home twice and both of those journeys were motivated by your sexual desires - whether she consented didn’t matter to you,” he said.

“She was making it clear to you that she didn’t want sexual contact. There was no room for misinterpretation.”

Scanlon will serve a maximum of 11 years and one month in custody before being released on an extended four-year licence.

He was also issued with an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and restraining order.


Rifle threat

A row about unsightly rubbish ended with a man picking up an air rifle and pointing it at a team of council workers.

David Langan reacted angrily to being confronted about the mess at his Darlington room before grabbing the weapon and aiming at the unsuspecting colleagues.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 53-year-old’s behaviour was witnessed by a neighbour who alerted the council staff to the potential danger.

Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said the council staff moved to safety and armed police were called to Langan’s home on Richard Court where the weapon was recovered on May 21 last year.

Mr Newcombe said the defendant had intimidated a witness when he confronted them on February 2 this year.

Darlington and Stockton Times: David LanganDavid Langan (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Langan, was convicted of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear or alarm and witness intimidation.

Chris Baker, in mitigation, said his client’s behaviour took place during a tense confrontation with the council officers and reminded the judge that the weapon was not loaded.

Judge Timothy Stead jailed Langan for a total of two years for both offences.

He said: “They were trying to get you to deal with the rubbish in the area. They were doing nothing wrong."


Violent bully

A violent and domineering bully who threatened to shoot his partner after posting a sexual video of her online has been locked up.

Jack Geldart’s 16-month relationship with the woman was interspersed with custodial sentences when he was recalled on licence for incidents of domestic abuse.

The 25-year-old, who has a long history of violence against women, also turned his anger onto another former partner after he had been remanded in custody.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Geldart flew into a jealous rage when his partner received a Snapchat message when she was visiting him at his bail hostel in Gateshead.

Geldart also published a sexual video of his former partner with her face blurred out in an attempt to embarrass and humiliate his victim, she said.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Jack GeldartJack Geldart (Image: Cleveland Police)

And on August 17 another of Geldart’s former partners received a call from him while he was on remand and he warned her ‘he would come for her’.

The judge heard how the defendant had previously been sentenced to four years and nine months for carrying out a campaign of terror on the second victim.

Geldart, of NFA but formerly of Teesside, pleaded guilty to stalking, sharing a private sexual video, common assault, and breach of a restraining order.

Judge Howard Crowson told the defendant he has an ‘appalling record’ for violence and domestic abuse before locking him up for five years and six months.

“You assaulted her for no reason other than jealousy. She ended the relationship and you refused to accept it,” he said.


Child groomer

A sick pervert who turned up to meet up with a 12-year-old girl while carrying a sex toy and lubricant was shocked to find a team of paedophile hunters waiting for him.

Lee Wright-King shared a number of sexually explicit messages with two young girls, including sending a picture of his penis to one of them, without realising he was actually talking online to two adult women.

The 34-year-old made his sick sexually intentions abundantly clear to his intended victims as he attempted to groom them to fulfil his depraved needs.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said Wright-King, using the name Dom Green, contacted the women pretending to be a 12 and 14-year-old girl in August and September this year.

The defendant arranged to meet the girl on September 20 at railway station and was confronted by male members of the paedophile hunting team who had also alerted the police.

Miss Atkinson said when Wright-King was arrested it was discovered that he was carrying a sex toy and lubricant.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Lee Wright-KingLee Wright-King (Image: Cleveland Police)

Wright-King, of Straker Street, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to two charges of attempted sexual communication with a child and a further charge of attempt to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Judge Jonathan Carroll locked the sex offender up for 27 months for attempting to groom the decoys.

He said: “I say decoys because they don’t in fact exist, there were adult women who are members of an online group who attempt to flush out people like you who groom young girls to sexually abuse.”


Pervert cleric

A disgraced former senior Anglican clergyman in the North-East has been locked up for the third time in six years after his latest conviction for indecent assault.

The retired Archdeacon of Auckland, George Granville Gibson, received sentences of 12-months and ten months, following convictions after trials at Durham Crown Court and Teesside Crown Court, in 2016 and 2019, respectively.

Now the pensioner has been jailed for 21 months for indecently assaulting a teenager in the late 1970s.

The victim in this case was a man, then in his late teens, who was recruited from a local drama group to perform in a Christmas pantomime at the church.

Darlington and Stockton Times: George Granville GibsonGeorge Granville Gibson (Image: The Northern Echo)

Judge James Adkin told the 86-year-old that the public needed to be reassured that people in positions of authority will be locked up for sex offences.

He said: “The jury found that on these two occasions you sought out this young man, stood next to him and rubbed against his body.

“You did this when you were near others and you seemed to enjoy that. It was hugely embarrassing for him."

The victim had told the court it all came back to him when he read of Gibson’s 2016 conviction in a newspaper, and later, after he read of the allegations being brought that resulted in the second trial, in 2019.

He finally broke his silence and told his wife in 2018, after which he reported it to police.

When arrested Gibson said he could not recall the victim and denied the allegations, claiming he had no sexual interest in men at the time.

Robert Mochrie, representing Gibson, said the defendant was a man in his mid-80s in poor health who was in remission from cancer.

The 86-year-old, of Worsley Park, Darlington, was told he would serve at least half of his sentence in custody.




Homeless criminal

A homeless man who resorted to crime to fund his ‘dysfunctional’ lifestyle has been locked up after carrying out a string of offences over a two-week period.

Steven Renwick’s latest crime spree started on October 28 when he, along with two others, tried to smash their way into Angel’s Cut bar and bottle shop on Duke Street in Darlington.

His reign of burglaries, thefts and attempted burglaries came to an end when he was arrested in Darlington Borough Council’s town hall on October 13 this year.

Kelly Sherif, prosecuting, said during his spree the defendant attempted to smash his way into Millets in Darlington town centre; broke into Farm Foods on Neasham Road and stole five packs of Lurpak butter; stole a bike from outside Darlington College; broke into Pizza Box on Northgate and stole £80 from the till; and stole the till from Pizza Master on Cockerton Green before being chased down the street by the business owner.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Steven RenwickSteven Renwick (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Renwick, of no fixed abode, but from the Darlington area, pleaded guilty to three burglaries, two attempted burglaries, theft and possession of a knife.

Judge Jonathan Carroll sentenced Renwick to a total of 18 months for all offences.

He said: “These offences occurred out of your circumstances of homelessness, taking drugs, leaving on the streets, associating with other people and in effect trying to gain funds to continue your dysfunctional, broken life."


Deceitful pervert

A convicted sex offender has been jailed after he started a relationship with a woman in York and failed to tell her about his previous convictions.

Michael Harris went under the radar for more than ten months after he hooked up with the unsuspecting woman, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The 48-year-old, formerly known as Michael Eddy, was found to have also failed to register two aliases, a bank account and a credit card with the police.

Jonathan Gittins, prosecuting, said the defendant used the online aliases Mikey J 1974 and Michael John between January 1 and November 2 this year to strike up his relationship before spending all of his time in York.

Harris, of Fincham Close, Stockton, was a registered sex offender since his conviction for sexual activity with an underage girl in 2011.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Michael HarrisMichael Harris (Image: Cleveland Police)

He was jailed in 2013 and 2018 for previous breaches of his notification requirements.

The defendant pleaded guilty to all five breaches of his notification requirement order between January 1 and November 2 this year.

Andrew Turton, mitigating, said his client wanted to settle down with the woman and told the judge that no children were living at the house.

Locking Harris up for 32-months, Judge Jonathan Carroll said: “The purpose of the notification requirements is to allow the appropriate authorities to manage the risk that you continue to pose and its quite clear, both by the original offence and continuing breaches and past convictions for breaches and this group of offences, that you are a continuing risk."


Deadly driver

A young man who caused the death of a family’s ‘matriarch’ after he had been racing at speeds in excess of 110mph has been jailed.

Kieran Clement’s Audi smashed into the rear of the car Margaret Murray was travelling in with her husband, David, as they headed to the beach to celebrate her birthday as Covid restrictions were lifted.

The 75-year-old suffered a severe degree of ‘blunt force trauma’ when Clement collided with the rear of Mr Murray’s Nissan.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the pair had been to have their Covid jabs on March 30, 2021, before heading out for the day to celebrate Mrs Murrays birthday two days earlier.

Eye witnesses said the Clement and Keaton Cox had been racing each other for a number of miles in the build up the fatal collision and were branded as ‘driving like idiots’.

A lorry driver’s dashcam footage recorded the pair pass him at 111mph in the minutes leading up to the fatal crash.

Clement, of Winterburn Place, Newton Aycliffe, has admitted causing the death of Mrs Murray by driving an Audi dangerously on the A689 eastbound.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Kieran ClementKieran Clement (Image: Cleveland Police)

Cox pleaded guilty to driving a Black VW Golf dangerously on the same road.

Sentencing Clement, Judge Howard Crowson said: “It was your dangerous driving that caused the death of that fit and healthy grandmother, Margaret Murray. Her family have found it very hard to come to terms with her death."

Clement was jailed for two years and six months and banned from driving for three years and three months.

While Cox, of The Barracks, Bolckow Street East, Eston, near Middlesborugh, avoided an immediate custodial sentence of 14-months as the judge opted to suspend it for 18-months. He was banned from driving for two years, ordered to attend 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and perform 200 hours of unpaid work.


Violent bully

A violent bully whose ‘male inadequacy’ resulted in him attacking his former partner over a three-hour period in her own home has been locked up.

Leon Crossling managed to coerce his victim into letting him into her home before launching the brutal attack, while her three children were asleep upstairs.

The 33-year-old’s violent onslaught left his victim battered and bruised before dental treatment also resulted in her losing three teeth, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Nigel Soppitt, prosecuting, said the defendant was already serving a suspended prison sentence and was the subject of a restraining order when he started bombarding his victim with telephone calls on August 23.

The court heard how the following day he turned up at her home at 5.30am and again started off remorseful, before returning to his customary abusive behaviour.

Mr Soppitt added: “When the assault started by the defendant, he punched her to the head multiple times.

“He pulled her to the settee by the hair and at one point grabbed her face and shouted into her face.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Leon CrosslingLeon Crossling (Image: Cleveland Police)

Crossling, of Morpeth Avenue, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, stalking and breach of a restraining order.

Emma Williams, mitigating, said her client had been in an on-off relationship with the woman over a number of years before it broke down permanently.

Judge Jonathan Carroll sentenced Crossling to 43 months in custody for the current offences and activated his ten-week suspended sentence to run consecutively.

“It must have been a truly terrifying experience and she was unable to phone the police but fortunately she had her mother at hand to help her with that,” he said.


Sexual predator

A violent sexual predator who attacked a woman as she walked through a town centre has been locked up for ten years as his offending escalated.

Joseph Holmes was branded a ‘high risk’ to the public as he shows no sign of ‘slowing down’ his sexual attacks on women.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 51-year-old’s latest attack was only thwarted by the intervention of a man who spotted the defendant dragging his victim towards a back alley in Darlington town centre.

Holmes has a previous conviction for an almost identical attack on a woman he targeted before carrying out a callous sexual assault.

His latest victim told the judge of the devastating impact the attack had had on her mental and physical health, leaving her suicidal and feeling worthless.

The defendant has 111 previous convictions for 205 offences, including ones for sexual assault, carrying weapons and assault.

The court heard how he was sentenced to four years in prison in 2017 for an attack on a woman in Durham city centre where he dragged her to the floor before putting her hand up her skirt and sexually assaulting her.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Joseph HolmesJoseph Holmes (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Holmes, of Finkle Street, Bishop Auckland, pleaded guilty to assault and attempted sexual assault on the day his trial was due to begin.

Recorder Benjamin Nolan KC branded Holmes a dangerous offender as he passed the ten-year sentence for the ‘chronic alcoholic’.

“You waited for another victim; you followed her, she crossed the street, you crossed the street, she crossed the street again and you crossed the street again.

“You then attempted to drag her onto Raby Terrace where it is more secluded. I am entirely satisfied that with your previous record that you intended to sexually assault her,” he said.


Courier fraud

A gang of courier fraudsters who posed as police officers to rip-off a number of elderly people in the region have been locked up for the 'heartless' offences.

The callous fraudsters conned two vulnerable Darlington pensioners out of their life savings with one losing £120,000 to the gang.

Arris Qumar, Awais Zaman and Mya Haskins were found guilty of posing as Scotland Yard detectives to persuade their victims to hand over large sums of cash and buy designer watches.

While Adriana Andrade pleaded guilty to her role in the scam which saw gang members travel from the Midlands and London to pick up bundles of cash after convincing their victims that their bank accounts had been compromised.

Teesside Crown Court heard how six pensioners, aged between 68 and 89 at the time of the offences, handed over almost £200,000 to the well-organised gang who travelled to Darlington, Durham, Newcastle, Hebburn and Otley to pick up the cash and watches.

All the victims were telephoned over a number of days by men claiming to be Fraud Squad officers from the Yard who told them that their bank accounts had been compromised, and to replace the receiver and to call 999.

All four defendants had been charged with fraud by false representation in September 2020.

Judge Chris Smith branded their offending as a ‘wicked fraud’ which stripped the elderly and vulnerable victims of large sums of money and buy designer watches.

“There were six victims, each of them elderly. It’s a mark of the sophistication of the conspiracy that all of you involved in were able to dupe intelligent and trusting victims and conned them into parting with thousands of pounds.

“This fraud has had a profound impact upon each of them in the later years of their lives. Each of you played important roles in this conspiracy,” he said.

Zaman, of Brooklyn Road, Coventry, was sentenced to two years and ten months in custody; Qumar, of York Close, Coventry, was sentenced to three years and eight months; Haskins, of Izod Road, Rugby, was sentenced to one year and ten months in custody; and Andrade, of Norman Road, Rugby, was sentenced to 16 months in custody.


Drunk pervert

A man who took the drunken opportunity to grope a young teenage boy in his own bed has been locked up.

Aaron Thackray was found guilty of attacking the boy following a trial at Teesside Crown Court

The judge heard how the 34-year-old sexually assaulted the teenager when the defendant was in his late 20s and was significantly older than his victim.

In a heart-breaking victim impact statement, he said: “What he has done to me has left me very angry and sad. At the time of the offence, I was young and thought nobody would believe me.

“I had no choice but to bottle it up inside and try to cope with it – it has left me very confused and anxious. I became very sad and depressed."

Darlington and Stockton Times: Aaron ThackrayAaron Thackray (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Thackray, of Outram Street, Darlington, was found guilty of sexual activity with a child following a trial.

Brian Russell, mitigating, said his client accepts that he was suffering with his own mental health issues adding that custody would have a significant impact on him.

Recorder Jamie Hill KC sentenced Thackray to 27 months in prison for sexually assaulting the boy.

He said: “You were under the influence of alcohol at the time which is an explanation but clearly not an excuse."


Dangerous gunman

A man, who shot a former friend in the leg last Christmas as an argument about a drug debt spiralled out of control, has been locked up.

Ricky Dull pulled out a handgun and shot the man as he walked back into his Stockton home where his heavily pregnant partner and young son were sitting.

The victim, who was wearing his pyjamas at the time of the shooting, initially refused to identify the gunman when he was taken to hospital for treatment to his injured thigh.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the shooting took place at around 1.15pm on Boxing Day after the 34-year-old drove to the victim’s home in a friend’s Land Rover - which was later discovered full of baseball bats.

A search of a property in Fishburn during Dull’s initial arrest on December 27 resulted in the discovery of a cannabis grow and pepper spray.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Ricky DullRicky Dull (Image: Cleveland Police)

Dull, of Dundas Street in Stockton, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent; the possession of a firearm with intent to cause violence; the possession of ammunition without a certificate; and two counts of the possession of a prohibited weapon.

Judge Jonathan Carroll sentenced Dull to 11 years and one month in prison for all offences.

He said: "You were also engaged in general criminality through your drugs involvement. Because of a dispute over money, you confronted your victim."


Sick predator

A pervert who plied a teenage girl with alcohol as he groomed her for his own depraved sexual gratification has been locked up.

Colin White regularly performed sex acts on the teenager in his County Durham home for several months in the early 2000s and had been disturbed on one occasion when his young son walked into the room.

The postman was cleared of two charges of rape against the same victim following a trial at Durham Crown Court last week.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said the victim trusted the defendant and told jurors that she had taken so long to come forward with the allegations as she feared no one would believe her.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Colin WhiteColin White (Image: Durham Constabulary)

White, of Fewston Close, Newton Aycliffe, was found guilty of two charges of indecent assault. He was cleared of one charge of rape on the same victim following his trial and the prosecution offered no evidence of a further charge of rape after the jury failed to reach a verdict.

Judge James Adkin jailed White for a total of seven years for both offences.

He said: “At the time of these offences you were in your 40s and the victim used to stay overnight as you worked as a postman and you decided to use her for sex.

“She was particularly vulnerable due to her age and her isolation.”


Armed robber

An armed robber who threatened a shop worker with a knife before fleeing with around £80 in cash has been locked up after he was recognised as a regular customer.

Jack Criddle walked into the convenience store in Darlington armed with the kitchen knife before demanding cash from the till.

The crack cocaine addict handed himself into police shortly after he targeted McColl's, on North Road, at 8.20am on Thursday, October 27.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the shop worker has been left too terrified to return to work after the 20-year-old threatened her with the knife.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Jack CriddleJack Criddle (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Criddle, who appeared in court via video link from HMP Durham, pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of a bladed article.

Stephen Hamill, mitigating, said his client suffered from poor self-esteem and mental health problems but accepted his drink and drug addictions exasperated the issue.

Recorder Ashley Serr sentenced the defendant to three years and four months in custody for both offences.

“She was clearly distressed and broke down at times during her police interview, she was not sure whether she is able to continue working in the shop,” he said.

“This was a very nasty offence, a shop worker simply doing her job was threatened with a knife and made to hand over cash. Her distress is obvious.”