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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 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

A DAD and son were beaten unconscious on the way home from a day out at Sunderland Airshow.

Thomas and David Surtees had been on a trip with relatives, including the family’s 86-year-old great-grandfather and a new baby, to watch the seafront displays when they were attacked without reason.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Thomas Surtees’ face and head were kicked and stamped on, leaving him with a serious nose injury which required surgery and may never be fully fixed.

His son David was punched and kicked and left covered in cuts and bruises.

Prosecutor Christopher Rose told the court the attackers had initially shouted abuse at the family before the violence started last July.

He said: “David recalls being kicked from behind. He was knocked to the ground and while on the floor he was kicked and punched until he lost consciousness. His father Thomas tried to intervene and he himself was attacked.

“He was either kicked or stamped to the face, and suffered a significant injury to his nose which involved the internal dorsal collapsing.”

Thomas Allen
, of Wylam Grove, Hendon, admitted causing grievous bodily harm and assault.

The court heard he had Mr Surtees Snr’s blood on his shoes when he was arrested.

The 25-year-old also admitted causing grievous bodily harm to a woman, whose arm was broken when a brick was thrown at her, after violence flared in Borough Road after the Tyne-Wear derby in January.

Judge Roger Thorn sentenced him to a total of 32 months.

Stuart Halliday, 24, of Redwood Court, Sunderland, admitted affray on the basis he was with the group which carried out the attack on the Surtees family, but did not throw any punches or kicks.

He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with probation supervision and programme requirements.

Judge Thorn said: “This was violence involving a group attack on a family unit, including a father and son, and more particularly a grandfather who was 86 and a young baby.

“There were women in that group. People are entitled to enjoy themselves and expect to have fun without any violence or apprehension of violence.

“This was the most disgraceful attack.”

Defence barristers said both men plan to stay out of trouble in future.

Sunderland Echo

From 2011

 Daniel Lewis at an NF demo in Wigan. Picture from Hope Not Hate


Daniel Lewis at an NF demo in Wigan. Picture from Hope Not Hate

A Wigan man jailed for threatening shop staff with a weapon is also a notorious local far-right leader, it emerged today.

Anti-extremism organisations and politicians reacted with relief to the news Daniel Lewis, of Wigan Lane, is now behind bars.

Vile social media posts highlighted online show Lewis making comments about the Holocaust which are too offensive to print, appearing at racist hate events and posing with flags bearing swastikas.

The 31-year-old, who is the Wigan leader of extreme far-right group the National Front and has links to the infamous North West Infidels, has also previously been unmasked by anti-racism campaigning organisation Hope Not Hate as a Holocaust denier.

Lewis was finally put behind bars for four and a half years last Thursday following an incident in which he and another man wore balaclavas and brandished an axe and a claw hammer as they demanded terrified staff at the Tesco store on Gidlow Lane open the tills to give them money.

Hope Not Hate today said Lewis being put in prison would be a massive relief to those in Wigan and elsewhere he has previously targeted for hatred.

The organisation’s head of research Matthew Collins said: “He is absolutely feral. He was out of control and had been for quite a while.

“It wasn’t just going out and robbing shops, he was a persistent danger to women in Wigan. He stalked and attacked Labour Party members and the police were called on a number of occasions.

“He was involved with the National Front, he was the organiser for them in Wigan and one of a number of organisers across the North West.

“He was also aligned to the North West Infidels, who have particularly made a name for themselves intimidating women.

“We are very happy that he is off the streets. We hope he takes the time to reflect on his behaviour and I’m sure he will because he is in prison.”

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, who has herself been targeted for sickening abuse by Lewis, called for more funding to be given to crack down on the far-right’s activities.

Ms Nandy said: “The vital work that Hope Not Hate and the police do to keep the public safe from these violent individuals should be commended.

“With the police under serious strain from nearly a decade of cuts and several threats involving the far right in recent years, it is clear they need a properly resourced, national strategy to help them in this crucial work.”

As news broke of Lewis’ jail sentence further details about his trail of appalling comments and actions came to light once more.

That included calling for violent actions against gay people, carrying out acts of harassment against people in Wigan and involvement in campaigns making horrific threats towards asylum seekers and refugees.

Hope Not Hate also previously reported on disgusting Facebook comments and photographs on Lewis’ account showing him smirking at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp while the accompanying comments mocked Holocaust victims and denied the genocide.

Photographs were shared of Lewis playing a prominent role in a National Front demo in Wigan town centre in 2015 in which extremists, some of them giving Nazi salutes, clashed with a large counter-protest and police.

The NF attempted to hold a similar anti-immigration event in the borough in 2016 but it was called off at the last minute.

The law caught up with Lewis following the violent incident on May 10 this year, in which he and his co-offender emptied large amounts of cash, alcohol and cigarettes before driving off.

Responding to last week’s sentencing, Detective Sergeant Nigel Rigby of GMP’s Wigan borough said: “These men didn’t just demand money, they held an axe to an innocent woman’s throat as they made their threats.

“They caused immense fear and I am grateful we were able to get them in custody 24 hours after the terrifying ordeal.”

Wigan Today