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Mark Pearson has been locked up for the attempted murder of a man, who repeatedly called him a “nonce”, outside Aldi in Spennymoor

Mark Pearson has been given a life sentence for attempted murder in Spennymoor (Image: Durham Constabulary)

A grandad who was falsely accused of being a paedophile has been given a life sentence for stabbing his tormentor.

Mark Pearson repeatedly stabbed Michael Inwood with a lock knife in a “frenzied” attack outside the Aldi store, in Spennymoor, in front of horrified shoppers.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Mr Inwood suffered “life-changing” injuries after being stabbed eight times, including the neck, heart and lung, on the afternoon of September 9 last year.

The 47-year-old denied trying to kill Mr Inwood, but a jury convicted him of attempted murder and being in possession of an offensive weapon at trial.

Judge Paul Sloan QC said that the stabbing was “totally disproportionate” to the provocation and jailed Pearson for life with a minimum term of 12 years.

The court heard how Pearson snapped after two years of torture from Mr Inwood, who had repeatedly branded him a “nonce” and a “paedophile”.

However, Pearson is registered as a Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) 2 – meaning he is a classed as a violent offender, not a sex offender.

The pair had initially clashed earlier that day on the top deck of a bus heading towards Spennymoor when Mr Inwood called the defendant a “wrong ‘un”.

It spurred Pearson to follow Mr Inwood, who was leaving the bus, until he was stood next to the driver where he told him that he was a “dead man walking” and that he was going to “slit his throat”.

Pearson then drew his finger across his neck in a cutting action.

He got off the bus at the next stop, walking past the Aldi shop on Cambridge Street towards his home. However, he suddenly turned around and headed back towards the store – and in the direction of Mr Inwood.

The pair confronted each other and began shouting “come on then” before Pearson got out a lock knife from his pocket and hid it behind his back.

Newcastle Crown Court was told when Pearson got in range he swung his right arm and stabbed Mr Inwood in the neck. He then proceeded to stab the victim “up to 10 times”, including the heart and lung, until he fell to the floor.

The offence took place in broad daylight outside the busy supermarket with one horrified witness saying it was like “something out a horror movie”.

Pearson fled the scene and called 999 after stashing the lock knife in a bag of flour in his kitchen cupboard.

He told police he didn’t deliberately stab Mr Inwood and claimed it was self defence.

The court heard how Mr Inwood had suffered a brain injury with his speech, eyesight and mobility being severely impacted by the attack.

He is also now experiencing regular seizures, mood swings and has lost his independence.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, he said: “My life is a daily struggle. I can’t walk in a straight line. I can’t dress myself, my father is caring for me. I still have no access to my daughter and it is breaking my heart.”

Tony Davis, defending, said the attack arose as a result of two years of “utter frustration” that had “boiled over”.

Pearson, of no fixed abode, has a long list of previous convictions for violence, including in 1996 when he was jailed for eight years for attacking three police officers with a knife.

Judge Sloan said: “You had the knife with you really to use as a weapon as neccessary.

“It was a cowardly attack – holding the knife behind your back to then catch Mr Inwood by surprise.

“The taunts do not begin to justify your subsequent actions. Using the knife you gave up to 10 blows or so, causing eight wounds and leaving him for dead.

“The only sentence I can pass is one of life given the possible threat to the public.”

Northern Chronicle

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

A DRINK and drug-driver tried to impress youngsters by speeding at up to 100mph on a residential street, before a “catastrophic crash” in which he left three passengers injured, one seriously, in the back seat.

Lewis Stores ignored requests from passengers to slow down moments before losing control of his Ford Focus, careering into pavement street furniture and ploughing into a bus shelter at 5am on April 2.

Just before the crash, Stores, who was jailed for 32 months yesterday, told his passengers “Watch this”.

Stores and his front seat passenger fled from the wreckage on Clyde Terrace, Spennymoor, but a passer-by freed two passengers from the car, but the third, a 14-year-old boy, suffered multiple fractures and other injuries and was airlifted to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Durham Crown Court was told as 20-year-old Stores was arrested at home almost double the drink-driving limit and with cocaine in his system two hours after the crash, the boy underwent emergency surgery for fractures to his left leg and arm, wrist and fingers.

Ian West, prosecuting, said while the boy came close to having to have an arm amputated due to a loss of blood flow, Stores, of Salisbury Crescent, West Cornforth, admitted to police he had been drinking at a house party in Middlestone Moor, Spennymoor.

The boy spent a month in hospital and the court heard, seven months on from the accident, he was still receiving treatment for nerve damage and skin grafts to his leg and arm, while he had lost dexterity in his wrist.

An impact statement from his mother, read to the court, said the boy still had some difficulty walking, as the recovering leg sometimes gave way, while he had only been able to attend school a few days a week.

Stores told police as he had a car, party-goers had asked him to drive to a petrol station for alcohol and drop some part-goers home.

Mr West said Stores began driving at excessive speed, “with an element of showing off” after leaving the petrol station.

A witness estimated the Focus to have reached up to 100mph on Clyde Terrace, while police experts concluded just before impact it was travelling at 72mph on the 30mph-limit street.

Stores admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and drink and drug-driving.

Amrit Jandoo, mitigating, said Stores, of previous good character, had committed an “appalling piece of driving”.

Mr Jandoo said: “He had been at this house party, but it was at the request of others he was obliged to take others to petrol stations to buy more alcohol. But, by getting into the car he accepts he knew he was over the limit.

“Others getting into the car were impressed by this vehicle and in some ways he wanted to impress them with its speed and power, and that led to this moment of madness. When told to slow down he applied his brakes, but lost control.”

Mr Jandoo said after the impact, Stores panicked and fled, but by the time police called at his home there was “no prevarication”.

Judge Simon Hickey said more than just one passenger could have suffered catastrophic injuries as a result, and it was only down to the skill of the surgeons that the long-term consequences were not worse for the most badly affected passenger.

Stores was also banned from driving for four years and four months.

Northern Echo