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Thomas Allen being led away by police during the demos in Sunderland

Thomas Allen being led away by police during the demos in Sunderland

A protester used his head as a weapon to charge at and injure a policeman battling to keep rivals apart during a mass demonstration in Sunderland city centre, a court heard.

Thomas Allen, 58, has been fined and ordered to pay the officer compensation by magistrates who scolded him for his actions.

They were told the unprovoked attack caused the PC to tumble to the ground, causing grazing to an arm.

Despite the assault, he was able to keep hold of Allen, of Hartside Road, Pennywell, Sunderland, who was arrested.

Even Allen’s defence solicitor admitted his client was still “hyped up” when later questioned at a police station.

Sentencing Allen, who is believed to be jobless, magistrates in South Tyneside criticised him for being part of trouble which led to three arrests on the day.

Democractic Football Lads Alliance protest through Sinderland City centre

Democractic Football Lads Alliance protest through Sinderland City centre

They said police had better things to do than wrestle with a man of his age during what should have been an entirely peaceful protest.

The court heard Allen was part of two marches organised by left and right wing groups which descended on the city on Saturday, September 15.

One was by Wearside-based Justice for the Women and Children Group, which was joined by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA).

A counter demonstration was held by Sunderland Unites and Stand Up To Racism North East, which included members of trade unions, political parties and politicians.

Trouble flared close to Keel Square when members of the DFLA ignored march stewards and tried to break through the police lines which separated them from the other group.

Prosecutor Lesley Burgess said: “The officer was in uniform and part of an incident ongoing in Sunderland city centre.

“He was keeping the peace between left and right wing activists. As part of the cordon, he was directing members of the protest.

“He instructed Mr Allen to continue on his way and in the direction of where the demonstration was a heading.

“Mr Allen took no notice. He ducked his head and charged at the officer into his stomach.

“The officer says that he had no regard for him and forced him to fall backwards, and they were both forced to the floor together.

“He kept hold of him and got a graze to his elbow.”

Harry Burn, defending, described Allen, who admitted one charge of assault when he appeared in court, as “hyped up” even after his arrest.

He said his client had denied the offence when interviewed, but admitted he might have pushed the policeman.

Mr Burn said: “It was not nice for the police officer. But the injury is what it is, it’s a graze to an arm.

“It’s not too serious. He hasn’t needed medical support, but it was his job and he didn’t need that to happen.

“Mr Allen apologises to the officer and to the court.”

Magistrates fined Allen £80 – reduced from £120 due to his guilty plea – and ordered him to pay £100 compensation to the officer.

He must also pay a £30 victim surcharge and £85 court costs, with the entire amount being paid at £10 a week.

Sunderland Echo

A PAEDOPHILE who preyed on three children has been jailed for 18 years.

Peter Gillett was convicted of raping a young girl when she was between the ages of 13 and 15.

One of the charges included multiple rapes against the teenager, along with indecent assault, and an assault that caused her actual bodily harm.

The self-employed 59-year-old was also convicted child cruelty and gross indecency towards a boy aged between eight and 15, and indecent assault against a girl aged between 13 and 15.

Lewes Crown Court heard that the offences against the children, who were known to him, took place between 1988 and 1996.

He also stood trial for possessing a stun gun at his home in Arundel Road in Littlehampton when police arrested him in 2016.

Detective Constable Rees Hopcraft said: “These offences came to light in 2016 when the two girls, by then in their forties, contacted us after learning of online postings suggesting that Gillett had committed sexual offences against the boy.

“We investigated and gradually uncovered a series of offences of sexual abuse by him against all three victims when they were young and vulnerable children, over a period of years.

“All three gave evidence against him and after a long trial, during which Gillett discharged his counsel and defended himself, the jury found him guilty of the sexual offences.

“We will always take seriously and follow up such reports, regardless of how long ago the events are said to have occurred.”

At his trial in February, he was found not guilty of a further rape and indecent assault against the first girl, and one charge of indecent assault against the boy.

He was jailed for 18 years for the offences, and for one year concurrent for possessing the stun gun.

Brighton Argus

A Littlehampton man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison over a series of child sex offences in Crawley.

Police said that at Lewes Crown Court, on February 16, Peter Gillett, 59, of Arundel Road, was convicted of seven counts of non-recent sexual offences in Crawley, some involving multiple occasions, against two young girls and a young boy.

Sentencing awaited the outcome of a separate trial for Gillett for possession of a stun gun found at his address when he was arrested in 2016, police said.

They added he was convicted of that offence, too, and was given a 12-month sentence to run concurrently with the sex offence sentencing.

A court-imposed reporting restriction had prohibited publication of news of the sex offence sentences until the stun gun offence had been dealt with.

Police said Gillett will be a registered sex offender for life.

He was convicted of: two counts of rape, two of indecent assault, one of multiple offences of rape and indecent assault, one of causing actual bodily harm, against a girl; one count of gross indecency and a count of child cruelty against a boy and one count of indecent assault against a girl.

He was found not guilty of a count of rape and a count of indecent assault against the first girl and one count of indecent assault against the boy, police added.

The prosecution followed an investigation by detectives from the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit.

Detective Constable Rees Hopcraft said the offences came to light in 2016 when the two female victims, then adults, contacted police ‘after learning of online postings suggesting that Gillett had committed sexual offences against the boy’.

DC Hopcraft added: “We investigated and gradually uncovered a series of offences of sexual abuse by him against all three victims when they were young and vulnerable children, over a period of years.

“All three gave evidence against him and after a long trial, during which Gillett discharged his counsel and defended himself, the jury found him guilty of the sexual offences.

“We will always take seriously and follow up such reports, regardless of how long ago the events are said to have occurred.”

Littlehampton Gazette

Gillett filmed giving a speech at the EDL demo in Coventry 2016.
https://youtu.be/bIBY1udR3ts?t=124

Christopher Smethurst repeatedly knifed the taxi driver after launching a ‘vicious, frenzied and entirely unprovoked attack’

A violent thug high on a cocktail of cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis and whisky repeatedly knifed a taxi driver in a random attack after finding out his girlfriend had ‘slept with his neighbour’.

Christopher Smethurst, 32, screamed ‘die, die, die’ as he stabbed his victim in the face and body after he had been taken to an address in Moss Side.

The career criminal claimed he was upset as he had just found out his girlfriend had slept with his neighbour.

But a judge slammed the ‘vicious, frenzied and entirely unprovoked attack’ and jailed Smethhurst for 19 years and four months.

His victim, a 42-year-old driver working for Street Cars, had picked him up from outside Chico’s takeaway in Longsight and had appeared to be chatty and friendly during the journey to an address in Ruskin Avenue in Moss Side on November 11 last year.

The private hire driver told him the fare of £5.20, but there was no reply and when he turned around Smethurst lunged at him with a kitchen knife – which was five or six inches long – prosecutor David Temkin told Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court.

Smethurst shouted ‘die, die, die’ as he repeatedly stabbed his victim in the neck.

The taxi driver tried in vain to wrestle the knife from his attacker, suffering more stab wounds to his hands, before Smethurst pulled at the driver’s seat-belt, pinning him against the back rest, and continued to knife his victim in the face.

The driver, who was bleeding heavily, managed to escape, but Smethurst got out and continued the sickening attack in the street.

The desperate cabbie ran barefoot down the street – after his shoes came off during the assault – knocking on doors and begging for help.

Eventually, one resident took him in and dialled 999 as Smethurst.

Police found blood all over the inside and on the outside of the car. The victim was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary where he was treated for ten serious stab wounds to his hands, arms, chest and head.

He was left with a fractured eye-socket and needed plastic surgery to repair the stab wounds and damage to nerves and tendons.

“I thought I was going to be killed,” the driver later told the police, describing how the attack had caused significant psychological and physical damage.

Smethurst was arrested ten days later in Crewe where he had intended to rob shop with a toy gun he had spray-painted black.

Hand-written notes were found in his bag one of which read: “Nothing to lose anymore. Empty the cash in the bag. I have a 9mm Glock.”

His DNA was found in a bag which he had left at the takeaway in Longsight which, together with CCTV and evidence from the driver, linked him to the assault.

Smethurst was said to have a series of criminal convictions, including one for battery.

Jonathan Turner, defending, said his client had expressed ‘genuine remorse’ in letters he had sent both to the judge and his victim.

The barrister said his client ‘had no idea’ why he had launched the attack, but said it had followed an argument he had had with his girlfriend, in which he discovered she had ‘slept with a neighbour’.

The defendant had consumed ‘a large quantity of drink and drugs’ and had ‘simply lost his mind’, said Mr Turner.

“He knows that is absolutely no excuse for the way he behaved that day,” he added.

Judge John Potter told Smethurst he was considered so dangerous he must serve a minimum two-thirds of the 19 years and four months jail sentence.

Smethurst, of no fixed abode, but originally from Crewe, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and possessing an imitation firearm.

Manchester Evening News

Tobias Ruth has previous convictions for racially-motivated graffiti attacks

A Torquay man who once plotted a nationwide hate campaign could be sent back to prison after being found with a prohibited weapon.

Tobias Ruth, 23, has become obsessed with knives and weapons, Exeter Crown Court was told.

He admitted two weapon-related offences when he appeared at the court for a short hearing.

The court was told he had adapted a fly swat into a stun gun and had a .22 air rifle.

Mr Kevin Hopper, defending, said Ruth had become ‘somewhat obsessed’ with collecting knives and weapon paraphernalia.

But he said the weapons had not been used in any crime and the electric fly swat did not work.

“He had no intention of using it on anyone,” said Mr Hopper

The defendant, formerly of Walnut Road but appearing via video link from custody, pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon on August 7 and possessing a firearm when prohibited.

Judge David Evans said he wanted Ruth to speak to the probation service before sentencing him.

He said all options, including immediate imprisonment, would be considered.

He adjourned sentence to October 25.

Ruth was just 18 when he and a friend carried out a campaign of racist vandalism in Torquay in 2012.

They styled themselves as Knights Templar and studied the crimes of Norweigian mass murderer Anders Breivik.

Their arrest led to houses being evacuated and roads cordoned off.

Ruth admitted conspiracy to send malicious messages and conspiracy to cause criminal damage. He was jailed for 33 months.

The judge at the time said the communications were intended to cause the fear of racial violence and plainly had a racial element.

Devon Live

You can read about his 2012 conviction here

A booze-fuelled thug who punched a friend through a broken window has told a court that he blamed alcohol for his bad behaviour.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on September 13 how Liam Cooper, 31, of Cornwall Drive, Brimington, Chesterfield, was arrested by police after the attack at the Butcher’s Arms, at Brimington, Chesterfield.

Prosecuting solicitor Emma Price said: “It was August 22 in the early hours of the morning when officers were called after a report that the defendant had smashed a window and they arrived and saw he was under the influence of alcohol.

“They tried to stop him speaking to others and he was trying to get away and he had to be restrained.”

Mrs Price added that Cooper was being aggressive and he was removed from the pub and as the complainant was trying to calm him down he was punched threw a window and the glass was smashed.

Cooper screamed and swore and threatened police when they arrived, according to Mrs Price, and he had to be taken to the ground and restrained.

The defendant complained that the complainant had been goading him from behind the pub window and he had reacted and he was sorry for what he had done.

Mrs Price added that the defendant also told one of the officers that he was going to break his nose.

Cooper later told police that he blamed his behaviour on alcohol and he claimed that he did not behave that way normally.

The defendant, who has previous convictions from between 2005 to 2011 including public order offences, pleaded guilty to damaging a window, using threatening behaviour towards a police officer and admitted the assault.

Defence solicitor Felicity Coats said: “He’s remained out of trouble for the last seven years. There are similar offences on his record but he has done a lot to change.”

Mrs Coats added that Cooper had not intended to cause the assault but he did so when he punched the window in temper.

She said: “The gentleman in the pub is a long-standing friend he’s known for years and they have made-up.”

The court heard that the defendant, who has paid for the damage caused, suffers from a head injury which affects his ability to control his temper.

He said: “I have changed. I have been a bit of a lunatic when I was younger. I have apologised to the police and I was out of order but drink is a dangerous thing. I do not know how it is legal. That is why I don’t drink usually because that’s what happens to me.”

Magistrates fined Cooper £240 and ordered him to pay a £30 victim surcharge, £85 costs and £125 compensation.

Cooper added: “That was a dear night wasn’t it?”

Derbyshire Times