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A CUNNING rogue staged a bogus 21st birthday bash in a staggering bid to cheat the law and escape justice.

Geoffrey Leigh Ewart went to extraordinary lengths to wriggle out of trouble for a Middlesbrough street brawl.

He faked his own 21st birthday party and falsified photographs to prove his arrest was a case of mistaken identity.

He tried to make the camera lie with pictures showing himself wearing a 21st birthday badge and blowing out candles on a 21st birthday cake.

The snaps were really taken 18 months or more after his real 21st birthday celebrations.

His audacious but doomed attempt to pull the wool over the courts’ eyes backfired spectacularly with a long prison sentence yesterday.

A well-timed pub refurb and detective work rumbled Ewart’s elaborate deception.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Ewart, now 24, was caught in a melee near Albert Bridge at about 2.15am on September 26, 2008.

Five police officers identified him from CCTV footage as the man headbutting and kicking another unidentified man for no apparent reason.

When interviewed Ewart said he wasn’t there and “it didn’t even look like me”.

He produced the photographs which he claimed would prove his innocence – some supposedly taken around his 21st birthday in May 2007, months before the street fight.

They showed him with a tattoo on his right arm – unlike the man in the CCTV film.

CPS prosecutor Alexander Menary said: “It is meant to say, ‘This couldn’t have been me because my tattoo would have been shown, because here I am on these photographs with it on May 2007’.”

The scam was undone with police inquiries at the Norman Conquest pub in Normanby, where the “birthday” pictures were taken.

The pub owner said the photos must have been taken after refurbishments, which took place after Ewart’s fight.

Other photographs were doctored with dates superimposed on to them.

Ewart, of Grisedale Crescent, Grangetown, admitted affray and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He also admitted an unprovoked actual bodily harm assault on a man at the Garage pub on January 16, 2009.

He repeatedly punched Ryan Leopard-Sheffield leaving him with cuts, bruises and a chipped tooth.

The judge, Recorder Jonathan Sandiford, saw it was Ewart’s subterfuge which earned him the jail term rather than the violence.

He said: “I’m afraid this was not the panicked reaction of somebody giving a false name to the police station.

“It was a pre-meditated, determined and well-planned attack on the court process. It involved the manufacture of evidence. It was persisted in.”

He said it was sinister that Ewart’s solicitors were given the names of people in the photographs to seek statements backing up his lies.

“It’s plain to me that to have any chance of success this scheme would have had to have involved persuading those individuals to give false evidence to say that that was your 21st birthday party.

“In fact, as we know now, it must have been staged at a later point.

“It has been said many times that the court process must be protected,” added the judge.

“And you transformed what was a case involving two bad enough incidents of violence into something more serious.”

Ewart, who had only one previous conviction, was jailed for two-and-a-half years, his first prison sentence, including 18 months for the deception.

Jonathan Walker, defending, said: “It appears to be a fairly determined attempt to warp the smooth running of the criminal justice system.

“The ill-judged stupidity started to unravel when he approached members of his family who quite properly refused to become involved in their son’s folly.

“It became abundantly clear that this was an ill-judged attempt to ramp up what he believed was a proper defence.”

He added Ewart apologised for his “drunken and thuggish activities”, was not inherently violent and had not been violent in the last 18 months.

Ewart was otherwise amiable, industrious, hard-working with strong family support and character references.

Mr Walker said on the day of the 2008 affray Ewart had been to the funeral of a friend whom he had found dead.
Gazette Live

From 2010.

Geoffrey Ewart, from Grangetown, left one girl scarred for life after bombing around Scarborough in a BMW 330

Geoff Ewart appeared at York Crown Court to admit a dangerous driving charge

Geoff Ewart appeared at York Crown Court to admit a dangerous driving charge

A banned drink-driver who seriously injured two teenage girls in a seaside horror crash has been jailed.

Geoffrey Ewart, from Grangetown, bombed around Scarborough in a BMW 330 when the car careered off the road and tumbled down a steep embankment.

The 30-year-old – who ignored his passengers’ frantic pleas to stop – ran from the wrecked vehicle, leaving the two girls trapped inside.

Prosecutor Andrew Semple said one of them suffered catastrophic injuries including broken bones and was left immobile for weeks.

Mr Semple said the car, which had come off its wheels, had £12,500 of damage in the smash on Castle Road on June 24 last year.

Police found Ewart at a nearby taxi rank at about 1am.

Ewart, of Grisedale Crescent, was breathalysed three hours later by which time his alcohol level had dipped, but experts worked out that at the time of the accident he would have been about one-and-a-half times over the drink-drive limit.

The offshore oil rigger admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle-taking, drink-driving, having no insurance and driving while disqualified.

Ewart once faked own 21st birthday party to evade justice

York Crown Court heard that the BMW belonged to Ewart’s father and that his son had taken it without his consent before setting off for Scarborough.

After picking up his passengers, he began to drive “very fast”.

Mr Semple said: “One of the girls said her head was forced back into the seat by his speed.”

He rejected their pleas to let them out before the car left the road and clattered through bushes as it rolled down the embankment.

The older girl suffered a broken shoulder and fractured pelvis.

Her injuries were so serious she was transferred to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where she underwent several operations, had two blood transfusions and remained bed-bound for three weeks.

It was another six weeks before she could move without a wheelchair or crutches.

She was left scarred for life with a 14cm injury on her arm.

The younger girl suffered whiplash injuries and had to undergo 10 weeks of physio.

Scarborough crash followed ‘night of sheer stupidity and madness’

Ewart had three convictions including one for violence and perverting the course of justice in 2010, when he was jailed for punching a man repeatedly during a street brawl in Middlesbrough.

Ewart tried to evade justice on that occasion by faking his own 21st birthday party and using falsified photos from the pub ‘shindig’ in a forlorn attempt to convince police he was elsewhere at the time of the incident.

Following his release from prison in December 2014, he was caught drink-driving and given a 12-month ban.

Ewart’s barrister James Kemp said the horror crash in Scarborough followed a “night of sheer stupidity and madness”.

But Judge Richard Wright QC slammed Ewart for his “dangerous, show-off” driving and “callous” decision to leave the girls in the car as he fled the scene.

“You have shown little or no remorse towards your victims,” he added.

Ewart was jailed for two years and eight months, and given a five-year driving ban.

Gazette Live

From 2016.