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A GRANDFATHER who was wrongly branded a paedophile has been found guilty of the attempted murder of his tormentor.

Mark Pearson repeatedly stabbed Michael Inwood with a lock knife in a horrific attack outside the Aldi store in Spennymoor on the afternoon of September 9.

Newcastle Crown Court was told Mr Inwood was stabbed eight times, including in the heart and lung, but he managed to survive the attack.

Pearson, 46, had denied trying to kill Mr Inwood but, following a trial, a jury convicted him of attempted murder as well as the less charge of carrying an offensive weapon.

The jury was told that Mr Inwood had wrongly accused Pearson of being a child sex offender which had led to several verbal altercations between the pair.

During a police interview read out during the trial, Pearson told police Mr Inwood was a bully who was “telling everyone” that he was a paedophile.

The attack happened outside the supermarket after he was called a paedophile on a bus in the town.

During his evidence, Pearson told the court: “If I meant to murder him I would have stood over the c*** and stabbed him again. How am I meant to know where his f*****g heart is? I don’t know about bodies.”

But during the trial Ian Brook, prosecuting, said Pearson’s account was not credible as he had changed his story several times and admitted lying about stabbing Mr Inwood.

Mr Brook also made reference to a message sent from Pearson’s phone to a friend shortly after the incident in which he said Mr Inwood had been stabbed and was “laid on the f*****g floor, flat out”.

Pearson, of Eden Road, Spennymoor, had denied stabbing Mr Inwood or carrying a knife.

Pearson, who is a father and grandfather, was found guilty on both counts this afternoon.

He has been remanded into custody and will be sentenced on May 1.

Northern Echo

William ‘Billy’ Charlton, of Washington, was branded a manipulative bully by a judge as he was locked up for stirring up racial hatred

Unrepentant racist bully Billy Charlton shouted at jurors “I hope your daughters don’t get raped” and gave his supporters the thumbs up as he was jailed for spreading his toxic lies in a series of public speeches.

Vile and manipulative Charlton hid behind the cloak of respectability of wanting to protect women and children from sexual assault but his true intention was to disseminate hate-filled falsehoods about immigrants, Asians, black people and the police.

The 55-year-old, of Byland Court, Glebe, Washington , was convicted on Thursday of five counts of stirring up racial hatred after a series of speeches in Sunderland.

He was brought back to Newcastle Crown Court on Friday to be sentenced and five members of the jury returned to watch the conclusion of the case.

After spending most of the hearing staring intently at them, he shouted the vile comment towards the four women and a man as he was led away to prison and was told by a judge: “Just leave Mr Charlton”.

He then clapped his hands and gave the thumbs up to his supporters in the public gallery, who clapped as he was taken out of the dock to start a 21 month jail sentence.

Judge Edward Bindloss told him: “Over this three-and-a-half week trial you have been revealed as an intelligent, articulate, skilled public speaker but also a manipulator and bully, in my judgement.”

The judge said Charlton had used an allegation of rape, kidnap and drugging by a female – which was investigated and which police found insufficient evidence of – to spread his racist lies.

“You propelled the campaign (for the female) with rhetoric and misrepresentation and, the jury has found, with racist hatred,” Judge Bindloss said.

Charlton had been warned by senior police officers the comments he was making about the female were wrong, counter-productive and doing damage to the community.

Despite the fact more than 80% of sexual offending in Sunderland was committed by white men, the judge said: “In the five speeches, you conflated all immigrants with rapes and sexually offending, thus peddling racist hatred basted around falsehoods.”

The five speeches took place between November 2016 and July 2017 and drew bigger and bigger crowds, forcing hundreds of police officers to be diverted from their usual duties.

At one event, 800 people were present, including 32 Hells Angels.

Judge Bindloss told him: “Time and again you associated immigrants with sexual offending. This is a pernicious form of racial hatred.”

The judge said freedom of speech is a “fundamental freedom” and told him Charlton: “This is not about politics, it’s about the law. I’ve sought to keep the law and politics separate.

“You are not on trial for your political views or being a member of any party.

“Even your anti-imimigration views, you are entitled to hold.

“The jury has found your speeches were intended to or likely to stir up racial hatred.

“The speeches contributed to a toxic atmosphere by you stirring up racial hatred.”

The court heard that while Charlton was not responsible for them, a number of race-hate incidents were happening in Sunderland around the time of the speeches.

An Asian family had a brick thrown through their window with a note attached containing racist abuse and signed “EDL forever”.

Racist graffiti also appeared and a man was arrested wearing a T-shirt with an anti-Muslim T-shirt slogan.

The court heard Charlton had a previous conviction from 2007 for racially aggravated harassment, for which he was fined.

During his trial, jurors were told about footage from a “white man march” on Newcastle Quayside at which Charlton spoke.

The footage showed other people chanting things such as “white power”, “Hitler was right” “sieg heil” and “keep it white”, the court heard.

At one of the events, Charlton appeared alongside far right extremist Tommy Robinson.

Charlton also made sickening references to the Grenfell Tower fire – saying “it’s not cheap cladding that raped (a female)” and adding it’s “immigrants who are a threat to our children”.

Glenn Gatland, defending, said Charlton had what he considered to be genuine concerns and frustrations which had “boiled over into what can only be described by the jury as racism” and had “overstepped the mark”.

Mr Gatland added: “It’s not a case like Abu Hamza where people are preaching outright hatred on the grounds of racism.

“It starts with a genuine complaint and concern. There are genuine concerns about what he perceives to be a cover up by the police, rightly or wrongly.”

Mr Gatland added that Charlton is “not in particularly good health”, had to give up work because of problems with his knees and will find prison difficult.

He added: “He is extremely upset his 92-year-old mother is not very well, she will not be able to visit him.”

After the case, Chief Inspector Sam Rennison, of Northumbria Police, said Charlton’s actions were an attempt to fuel “hatred and unrest” in the city.

“Freedom of speech is an important element of modern society which we all advocate, but spreading hate and racism is totally unacceptable,” Ch Insp Rennison said.

“Billy Charlton attempted to disguise his racist agenda under a cloak of respectability by claiming to want to protect the women of Sunderland.

“He knowingly targeted a number of ethnic groups and immigrants at high-profile marches in the city centre, and in doing so, stirred up hatred.

“He then pushed that personal agenda further by circulating misinformation on social media for his own gain.

“However, today his calculated behaviour and attempts to spread hatred and unrest in our community have been laid bare.

“We must do all we can to stamp out racism and the spreading of hate. As a Force, we are committed to tackling all forms of extremism which has the potential to threaten the safety and security of the public.

“I am glad that the jury understood and recognised the seriousness of Charlton’s crimes, and he must now deal with the consequences of his actions.”

The Chronicle

William ‘Billy’ Charlton, of Washington, pretended to be wanting to protect women but his true intention was to spread race hate

A vile protester is behind bars after he was convicted of stirring up racial hatred with poisonous lies during a series of public speeches.

William “Billy” Charlton, who spoke alongside far right extremist Tommy Robinson, hid behind the cloak of respectability of wanting to protect women from sexual assault.

But his true intention was to disseminate hate-filled falsehoods about immigrants, Asians, black people and the police, a court heard.

Prosecutors said his words sparked incidents of violence and damage by others attending the marches, including an occasion in which two innocent Asian men were attacked by a group of white men.

During his trial, jurors were told about footage from a “white man march” on Newcastle Quayside at which Charlton spoke.

The footage showed other people chanting things such as “white power”, “Hitler was right” “sieg heil” and “keep it white”, the court heard.

Charlton, 55, of Byland Court, Glebe, Washington , also made sickening references to the Grenfell Tower fire – saying “it’s not cheap cladding that raped (a female)” and adding it’s “immigrants who are a threat to our children”.

He was found guilty of five charges of stirring up racial hatred and faces a prison sentence.

He was remanded in custody ahead of being sentenced on Friday – despite pleading that he had a dog at home on its own.

During the trial, Sharon Beattie, prosecuting, told jurors about a number of speeches Charlton gave around the theme of the protection of women from sexual assault.

She said: “This was his cause and his motivation, as he described it, to protect women in Sunderland from rape and sexual violence.

“No one, one would hope, would argue against that but in reality, say the prosecution, this was an excuse because Mr Charlton is an intelligent man and a good speaker and this supposed cause was hiding his true intention under a cloak of respectability.

“His true intentions, say the prosecution, were to stir people up against immigrants, Asians, black people and the police.”

Miss Beattie said jurors would have to consider the issue of free speech but added that it is not free speech if it is an offence.

She told the jury: “Mr Charlton is not prosecuted for speaking in public, he is being prosecuted for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, intending to stir up racial hatred.”

The court heard that following some of the speeches, there were incidents of graffiti and property being damaged. One property was attack where it was believed a rapist lived but in fact others lived there.

In another incident, an Asian man who happened to live in a particular area, was attacked and when his nephew came to help him, he was also beaten up, the court heard.

Miss Beattie said: “This violence was from people who had been listening to the speech and were involved in a march which preceded it.”

The prosecutor said when one woman attended a demonstration with a placard saying “rape doesn’t have a race”, she had to be escorted away by police for her own protection because of the reaction of the crowd.

Charlton is said to have posted a picture of her on Facebook calling her an idiot.

Miss Beattie said the five charges “arise out of a series of speeches by Billy Charlton” which were streamed on Facebook and picked up by Rebel Media, “used by or linked to Tommy Robinson”.

The jury were told about one march in Sunderland , organised after allegations surfaced about three Turkish men, during which Charlton is alleged to have said: “Standing in Sunderland city centre feels like I’m in Bangladesh” and made reference to “imported rapists”.

In another speech he said “these people who are guests in my town raping and drugging our women, they are monsters, there’s something wrong in this town”.

The court heard Charlton denied being racist but, Miss Beattie said: “He said he doesn’t care about the colour of anyone’s skin but he doesn’t address any other issue other than immigrants.

“85% of people arrested for sexual offences are white in Sunderland – he doesn’t address that either.”

Charlton is also said to have criticised Northumbria Police, saying at one march, in reference to the force’s slogan “proud to protect”: “Proud to protect. Not your children, they are not. Not my children they are not. Who are they protecting?” The crowd responded: “Immigrants.”

Prosecutors say his verbal attacks on the police were designed to tell people the police couldn’t protect them so they had to protect themselves.

Referring to a Facebook post about an allegation made by a woman, Miss Beattie told jurors: “The prosecution say Mr Charlton was not genuinely motivated by concern in relation to these women, he was motivated by an agenda relating to immigrants.

“He was stirring up racial hatred.”

At another march, he is said to have told the crowd his and their children and women “deserve protection from these immigrants”, the court heard.

The court heard about comments Charlton is said to have made to a police superintendent, a month after the Grenfell fire, saying it was “not cheap cladding that raped (a female)”, adding “it’s immigrants who are a threat to our children.”

Miss Beattie said in May 2017, a young student in Sunderland city centre witnessed Charlton abusing Asian people, saying: “Get out of my Sunderland, get out, this is my country.”

The prosecutor told the jury: “There was no suggestion they were committing sexual offences so why would he be shouting at these two males.

“That, say the prosecution, is his real agenda.”

The Chronicle

A police officer whose team helped convict a man of inciting racial hatred during Sunderland city centre demos has said his actions were “totally unacceptable.”


William Charlton, 55, known as Billy, spoke at a number of public rallies between November 2016 and July 2017 after a woman reported she had been raped in the city.

Northumbria Police say that attempting to disguise his personal agenda under a “cloak of respectability”, Charlton used the demonstrations to attack ethnic minority groups and immigrants with racial slurs and insults.

Charlton denied five charges of inciting racial hatred but was today, Thursday, September 26, found guilty of all offences by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

Chief Inspector Sam Rennison said Charlton’s actions were an attempt to fuel “hatred and unrest” in the city.

“Freedom of speech is an important element of modern society which we all advocate, but spreading hate and racism is totally unacceptable,” Ch Insp Rennison said.

“Billy Charlton attempted to disguise his racist agenda under a cloak of respectability by claiming to want to protect the women of Sunderland.

“He knowingly targeted a number of ethnic groups and immigrants at high-profile marches in the city centre, and in doing so, stirred up hatred.

“He then pushed that personal agenda further by circulating misinformation on social media for his own gain.

“However, today his calculated behaviour and attempts to spread hatred and unrest in our community have been laid bare.

“We must do all we can to stamp out racism and the spreading of hate.

“As a force, we are committed to tackling all forms of extremism which has the potential to threaten the safety and security of the public.

“I am glad that the jury understood and recognised the seriousness of Charlton’s crimes, and he must now deal with the consequences of his actions.”

Charlton, of Byland Court, Washington, insisted throughout the three-week trial that he did not intend to stir up hate and is not racist.

He was remanded in custody following his conviction and is due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court tomorrow morning, Friday, September 27.

Sunderland Echo

Colin Dodds, left, and Alan Dent, right, who have today been convicted of causing criminal damage to MP Helen Goodman’s office window

TWO men “deliberately targeted” the office of Helen Goodman MP in a politically motivated attack by throwing bricks through the windows, a judge has said.

Colin Dodds and Alan Dent have today been jailed after they were convicted of causing criminal damage to the Bishop Auckland MP’s office.

District Judge Helen Cousins has sentenced Dent to eight weeks and Dodds to 12 weeks in custody.

This morning, Dent, 50, of Co-operative Street, Shildon, admitted a charge of causing criminal damage after losing his temper and throwing a brick through a window.

And Dodds, 44, of Douthwaite Road, Bishop Auckland, denied the charge, but he has been found guilty of the offence.

The judge said the pair had deliberately targeted the MP’s office.

She said: “I saw two men walking down the street in a determined way with bricks in their hands and low and behold windows were then smashed.

“I have no hesitation in finding that it was deliberate – there can be no other reason than it being politically motivated for them to chose that building. This was a targeted attack on a sitting MP’s office.”

Teesside Magistrates Court heard how the pair had been supporters of far-right organisations, including the English Defence League (EDL) and had been subject to police surveillance while taking part in Anti-Islamic protest marches across the region.

Dent had told the court that he was ‘fully’ responsible for the damage but denied it was politically motivated maintaining that he lost his temper after spending the day drinking in Bishop Auckland town centre.

He said he was angry after seeing his ex-partner in town and got into an argument with a friend before picking up the bricks and threatening to ‘smash his head in’.

Dent told the court that his co-accused grabbed a brick out of his hand to stop him attacking their friend.

Under cross examination from Ann Mitchell, prosecuting, Dent said: “When I found out he (Dodds) had been arrested, I wanted to come to prove my guilt and prove Colin’s innocence.

“He stopped me doing something worse when he took a brick off me.”

She asked Dent whether he came to court to plead guilty and keep Colin Dodds out of trouble, he said: “It definitely wasn’t a planned attack, I was in my best clothes, it was broad daylight and I was drunk.

“He had absolutely nothing to do with it.”

Two windows at Ms Goodman’s constituency office on Cockton Hill Road, Bishop Auckland, were broken after being hit with house bricks on the evening of Saturday, April 6.

Dodds denied the attack was related to Ms Goodman’s stance on Brexit. He said: “I had no prior knowledge of it before it happened; it wasn’t planned and I had nothing to do with it.”

Under cross examination, Dodds vehemently denied hurling a brick through the window and maintained they were walking to his home on the Woodhouse Close estate.

Northern Echo

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 WELL-known hard man has been jailed after being convicted of an offence relating to the ride-by shooting of a nightclub bouncer.

John Henry Sayers was given a three-and-a-half-year sentence at the Old Bailey on Friday after being convicted of perverting the course of justice, a court official said.

During the trial, jurors were told the defendant was “a man to be feared” who had “acquired and promoted a reputation” and would not allow his name to be disrespected.

He had initially been accused of ordering the attack on doorman Matthew McCauley outside the Tup Tup Palace on June 6 2015, but was found not guilty of conspiracy to murder, alongside co-defendant Michael Dixon, 50. Both men are from Walker, Newcastle.

Prosecutor Simon Denison QC had claimed Sayers ordered the attack after his son was turned away from the Newcastle nightclub weeks earlier, but this was rejected by the jury.

The 54-year-old was also cleared of conspiracy to possess a shotgun with intent to endanger life, while Dixon was found guilty of the same offence and given a life sentence with a minimum of eight years, the court official said.

Sayers and a third defendant, Michael McDougall, 50, were convicted of perverting the course of justice over a false statement given in 2017.

Convicted murderer McDougall, who is serving a life sentence, told “a pack of lies” by trying to claim he was the gunman in the incident, jurors heard.

As a result, he was given two years to run consecutively after his current life sentence

Sayers had previously been cleared of ordering another murder – the doorstep shooting of a man in 2000 – and subsequently cleared of nobbling the Leeds jury in that case.

However, he is a convicted robber and tax evader and is said to be a name to be feared in Tyneside.

Northern Echo

Details of the murder conviction can be found here.



A DRUG addict who robbed a college lecturer at knifepoint has been jailed.

Craig Gilroy, 23, of Ribble Road, central Blackpool, took cash, an iPhone and food from his victim when he pounced on the man in an alleyway at the back of a mini market on Palatine Road.

The thug pleaded guilty to robbery at Preston Crown Court yesterday, and was jailed for two years and eight months.

Louise Whaites, prosecuting, said Gilroy approached his victim on November 3 and was holding a glinting eight inch bladed knife by his waist.

Gilroy demanded money, but the lecturer, who was walking home from Blackpool and the Fylde College university campus on Palatine Road, said he did not have any.

Miss Whaites told the court: “The defendant pushed him against the alleyway wall, raised the hand holding the knife and held it to his neck and again requested money.”

The man gave him £10 cash and went on to give him his iPhone, worth £495, and a bag of food.

He waited in the alley until Gilroy had rejoined two other men and moved away from the area, and became extremely distressed when he arrived home.

Gilroy, who was wearing a hooded top at the time, with a scarf up to his nose, later sold the mobile for £20 and bought two bags of heroin.

The thief, who has 65 previous offences on his record, told his partner he had “jacked some guy”, but denied the offence when questioned by police.

Paul Humphries, defending, said his client accepted using the knife to threaten, but denied any intent to use it to cause harm. He also denied threatening to kill the man if he went to the police.

Mr Humphries said: “He tells me he is very sorry. He understands the pain and misery he has caused the male and his family.

“He wishes he could turn the clock back. He was at a low point in his life.

“There was also a food shortage in the house.”

Gilroy had also been on a methadone programme but was not attending at the time.

Judge Philip Butler said: “It must have been a terrifying experience for the man.

“That he suffered no physical injury is very little mitigation because one can imagine the psychological effect”.

From 2011

Blackpool Gazette

A thief who was short of money in the run up to Christmas targeted the same shop two days running.

Craig Gilroy, 30, of George Street, North Shore, pleaded guilty to two offences of theft.

He was given a 12 months conditional discharge and ordered to pay £47 compensation with £85 costs plus £20 victims’ surcharge.

Prosecutor, Pam Smith, said Gilroy was detained at the B and M Bargains store, Whitegate Drive, on December 23 at noon, after stealing three jars of coffee valued at £14.

CCTV showed he had been in the shop the day before and taken four bottles of liqueur worth £47.

He had a record of 29 previous offences of theft and similar matters and at the time of the offence was on post prison sentence supervision.

Howard Green, defending, said in the run up to Christmas his client was short of money and decided to steal to get some. Gilroy, who had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, was estranged from his family.

He had no permanent accommodation but was allowed to sleep at the address he had given.

He had also missed appointments with the probation service on his post prison sentence supervision.

Blackpool Gazette

A prisoner apologised after making loud banging noises from his cell under Blackpool Magistrates’ Court which could be heard in the courtrooms.

Craig Gilroy, 30, of Chesterfield Road, North Shore, pleaded guilty to two offences of theft.

He was sentenced to a six months community order with up to 15 days rehabilitation to be supervised by the probation service, banned from entering Marks and Spencer, Church Street, for six months and ordered to pay £35 compensation with £85 costs plus £85 victims’ surcharge by District Judge Jane Goodwin sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecutor, Andrew Robinson, said Gilroy took a woman’s jacket worth £35 from Marks and Spencer on September 16 at 10.15am.

He was chased but got away.

At midday security officers spotted him and when he was apprehended Gilroy was found to have five jackets valued at £175 from Marks and Spencer which he had stolen just minutes earlier.

Gilroy at the time of the thefts was on licence from prison.

He had a criminal record of 99 previous offences.

Brett Chappell, defending, said his client had stolen from Marks and Spencer because his benefits had not yet been in place and he had been using Spice.

Blackpool Gazette