The bizarre, absurd and ridiculous excuses given by criminals in the North East

Criminals commonly try to talk their way out of their crimes.

And while many do immediately confess and hold-up there hands, there are those who seek to excuse their behaviour with elaborate and sometimes ridiculous stories.

From the absurd to the nonsensical, these are some of the excuses we’ve heard while covering court cases over the last 12 months.

Sunderland Grandad caught with 3,000 sick images of kids claimed he was “seeing if he could break the law”

Derek Robinson, who has been given a suspended sentence for possessing indecent images of children
(Image: newcaste chronicle)

The defendant : Derek Robinson, 67, from The Sanderlings, Ryhope, in Sunderland, pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent images of children.

What happened? Robinson, a granddad, was caught with a vile stash of more than 3,000 child abuse images. The 67-year-old had the sickening photos and videos, which involved girls as young as four, on five devices in his home. The shocking haul was discovered when police raided his address in February 2019.

The defendant’s account: Robinson denied having any sexual interest in children, instead claiming in police interview he had only downloaded the images to see if he could break the law.

The sentence: A judge at Newcastle Crown Court gave him 20-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a £500 fine. Robinson was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register and was made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for the next 10 years.

Read the full story here

Byker man caught with knife for second time claimed he had it to cut his nails

James Lawson, who has been jailed for possessing a bladed article
James Lawson, who has been jailed for possessing a bladed article
(Image: newcaste chronicle)

The defendant: James Lawson, 39, of Wilfred Street, in Byker, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a bladed article in public and one of possessing a class A drug.

What happened? Lawson was caught with a knife for the second time in three years. He was stopped by police on Westgate Hill, in A rthur’s Hill, on July 4 last year. Lawson, who has himself been stabbed, was previously found to be carrying a blade in 2017.

The defendant’s account: Lawson claimed that he was using the weapon, which was found in his pocket, to cut his nails and tobacco.

The sentence: His account was not enough to keep him out of prison and magistrates in North Tyneside jailed him for 21 weeks.

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Burglar who tried to break into Durham house with spatula claimed he was there to fix window

Wayne Cuthbert, 39, forced entry to a kitchen window at an address on Fieldhouse Lane on July 4 using the spatula
Wayne Cuthbert, 39, forced entry to a kitchen window at an address on Fieldhouse Lane on July 4 using the spatula
(Image: Durham Constabulary)

The defendant: Wayne Cuthbert, 39, of Durham, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted burglary.

What happened? Cuthbert forced entry to a kitchen window at an address on Fieldhouse Lane, in Durham City, on July 4 last year using the spatula which he had stolen from a nearby outhouse.

The defendant’s account: When the victim disturbed him, Cuthbert said he was “just trying to get in the kitchen” to fix the window.

The sentence: He was jailed for 12 months at Durham Crown Court and ordered to pay a £156 victim surcharge.

Read the full story here.

Wallsend driver found with cocaine in his system claimed he thought he’d only taken codeine for toothache

Stephen Featherstone leaving North Tyneside Magistrates' Court, North Shields
Stephen Featherstone leaving North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, North Shields
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

The defendant: Stephen Featherstone, 44, of David Street, Wallsend, pleaded guilty to two counts of driving while over the drugs limit.

What happened? Featherstone was caught driving while over the limit for cannabis and cocaine as he travelled with a young child in his car in Wallsend. He was pulled over in his Vauxhall Zafira on May 6 last year and a test revealed he had the two drugs in his system.

The defendant’s account: Featherstone, who has a previous conviction for drink driving, claimed he’d only taken codeine and cannabis oil, which he’d been given off a friend to relieve toothache. However, the dad-of-six conceded that the “painkillers” may not have been what his pal told them they were when he appeared before magistrates in North Tyneside.

The sentence: He was fined £120 and ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £34 victim surcharge. He was also banned from driving for 22 months.

Read the full story here

Holidaymaker with stun torches and CS gas canisters at Newcastle Airport said they were for “pranks”

Gary Wilson
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

The defendant: Gary Wilson, 51, of Ridgeway, Birtley, in Gateshead, pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing prohibited weapons and one of having an offensive weapon.

What happened? Holidaymaker Wilson was caught trying to import stun devices, CS gas canisters and batons through N ewcastle International Airport. He was returning from a break in Bulgaria with his wife on June 16 2019 when he was stopped by customs officers. When his suitcase was searched, eight stun torches, another stun device, five CS gas canisters and two extendable batons were discovered.

The defendant’s account: Wilson said he only wanted the weapons for gifts and “pranks” with friends. He claimed he bought them because previous ones he had were low on battery or broken as a result of him and his pals messing around at work.

The sentence: He was given 16 months jail, suspended for two years, with 211 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £450 costs plus a £140 surcharge.

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999 hoaxer claimed he giggled through police interview because he was “nervous”

Thomas Thompson leaving North Tyneside Magistrates' Court, in North Shields
Thomas Thompson leaving North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, in North Shields
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

The defendant: Thomas Thompson, 38, of Millfield Avenue, in Kenton, pleaded guilty to one count of sending a false message by a public electronic communications network and one of persistently making use of a public electronic communication network to cause annoyance/inconvenience or anxiety.

What happened? Thompson made a number of fake calls to the North East Ambulance Service then laughed during interview after he was arrested. Two ambulances and five paramedics were deployed to the hoaxer, who gave his name as Clint Eastwood, after one call during the first peak of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year. He dialled 999 on two separate dates in April and May last year.

The defendant’s account: Thompson’s solicitor, Lewis Pearson, told magistrates in North Tyneside that the calls were a cry for help and that he giggled through his police interview because he was “nervous”.

The sentence: Thompson was fined £200 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

Read the full story here.

Newcastle pensioner, 77, claimed he had child abuse images out of “morbid curiosity and boredom”

James Hodgson
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

The defendant: James Hodgson, 77, of The Gables, in Kenton Bank Foot, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to three offences of possessing indecent images of children.

What happened? Police went to Hodgson’s home in June 2018 and various electrical items were seized. On three hard drives, officers found 62 of the most serious, category A images, 84 category B, including two movies and 92 category C image. They involved children as young as three.

The defendant’s account: Hodgson admitted possessing the images but denied a sexual interest in children. He said he was looking for testosterone and continued clicking links. He claimed it was a mixture of morbid curiosity and boredom.

The sentence: Hodgson was sentenced to eight months suspended for two years with £425 costs and he was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and sex offender registration for 10 years.

Read the full story here

Benwell driver sparked police chase because ‘he didn’t know they who they were’

Noman Asim leaving North Tyneside Magistrates' Court, North Shields
Noman Asim leaving North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, North Shields
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

The defendant : Noman Asim, 27, of Croydon Road, in Arthur’s Hill, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to one count of driving without due care and attention and one of failing to stop for a police officer.

What happened? Truck driver Asim took police on a short pursuit through residential streets in Newcastle’s west end one evening in October last year. Dash cam footage showed him failing to slow at junctions and increasing his speed in order to evade capture as he travelled along Ellesmere Road, the West Road and Gowland Avenue, in Benwell. Asim, who had two passengers in his white truck, eventually pulled over outside of his uncle’s house and was arrested.

The defendant’s account : Asim’s solicitor Kash Khan told magistrates in North Tyneside that he didn’t know that the pursuing vehicle was police, despite their flashing blue lights.

The sentence : Asim was fined £110 and ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £32 victim surcharge. He was also given three penalty points.

Read the full story here.

Thieving Consett postman who stole more than 1,000 packages due to “stress” locked up

(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

The defendant : Michael Sullivan, 54, of Temple Forge Mews, in Consett, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft by an employee between August 2011 and September 2019.

What happened : Postman Sullivan stole more than 1,000 packages over eight years. He was snared after fake packages containing cash were put in his delivery round. The bogus packages were placed in his delivery with GPS devices and investigators were able to catch him with the packets. Investigators stopped Sullivan, who agreed to a search being carried out, and was found with a £20 bank note from one of the packets. Investigators also found a Co-op gift voucher in his mobile phone cover and a search of his home was carried out, where 1,032 postal packets were found.

The defendant’s account : After being asked about why he took the items, Sullivan said he’d been suffering stress for “many years” and admitted stealing postal packets under stress and didn’t know how many he’d stolen.

The sentence : Sullivan was jailed for 10 months at Durham Crown Court.

Read the full story here.

Chronicle Live – Sunderland