Jailing of man for prolonged attack among cases sentenced at Durham Crown Court in recent days

The jailing of a man who carried out a sustained assault on a fellow resident in supported living housing is among cases sentenced in recent days at Durham Crown Court.

Thomas Dixon bit off part of the ear of the 32-year-old victim in the prolonged beating at the premises in Ferryhill, in the early hours of Thursday, March 3 this year.

Appearing at a plea hearing at the court, in May, it was suggested the 40-year-old defendant would deny a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, on the basis it was self-defense.

Before the charge was put, however, Judge Ray Singh suggested he should watch CCTV footage capturing the attack, which took place in one of the lounges.

Read more: Four County Durham criminals hauled before Durham Crown Court last week

Although the other man did throw an early blow in the confrontation, Dixon soon got the better of him but carried on returning to deliver further flurries of punches at him, even when the was prone on a sofa.

Dixon then stamped on the victim when he fell to the floor.

At some point during the one-sided clash Dixon was said to have leaned over and bitten off a small section of the victim’s ear.

Having viewed the footage, Dixon spoke to his counsel, Robert Mochrie, and then pleaded guilty to the charge.

The case was adjourned for preparation of background reports on the defendant, but Judge Singh warned him the “very likely” outcome would be a prison sentence.

On his return to the court, on Monday (August 1), Dixon, whose address was given as Castlereagh Close, Long Newton, near Stockton, received a 34-month prison sentence.

In another case sentenced in recent days 22-year-old Callum Bush, of Bamburgh Parade, Spennymoor, received an 18-month jail term, suspended for two years, during the whole of which he will be banned from driving.

It follows admissions to charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, failing provide a specimen for analysis and no insurance.

Read more: County Durham rapist poses ‘high risk’ of sexual harm to women

The court heard he was to blame for a collision as he rode a 125CC motorcycle while wearing no protective clothing or helmet, late on November 19, last year.

The court heard the registration plates were deliberately obscured and no lights were illuminated.

Bush collided with a Vauxhall Corsa having taken a roundabout the wrong way, and his pillion passenger was thrown off the machine, fracturing his left leg.

The court heard both Bush and his passenger went to hospital, where the defendant refused to give a blood sample for analysis, “because he didn’t like needles”.

Ian West, in mitigation, said the defendant was only 21 at the time and was of previous good character with a, “realistic prospect of rehabilitation”, according to a probation report, despite, “the stupidity” of the offense.

The still injured defendant, who appeared via video link from Teesside Magistrates’ Court, as it has wheelchair facilities, was said to have been left with one leg slightly shorter than the other and is undergoing experimental treatment to address the deficit.

Judge James Adkin said he was “just about” persuaded to pass an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, given Bush’s “low risk” of reoffending and the predicament he is facing with his lingering, potentially “lifelong” self-inflicted injuries.

He also made him subject of a six-month 6pm to 6am home curfew.

In a further case, on Monday (August 1), Josh Peter Orr, 28, of Rose Avenue, Stanley, assaulting an emergency worker and affray, over violence to his former partner and her father, with he whom he had been drinking earlier in the evening, in their own home, on April 15, last year.

He received a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, during which he must perform 180-hours’ unpaid work, complete a building better relationships course and undergo 20-days’ rehabilitation work, both overseen by the Probation Service.

Orr was also made subject of a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting or approaching either his ex-partner or her father, both for five years.

In a further case, Shaun Courtney, 35, of Moorside, Spennymoor, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident, failing to provide a specimen for analysis, plus other motoring offenses committed after taking his partner’s Suzuki Swift and colliding with two other vehicles, after storming out of a night out, on January 8.

The defendant, who the court heard has undergone self-enforced abstinence since the incident, received a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 120-hours’ unpaid work.

He was ordered to pay a total of £1,050 to the owners of the two damaged cars within six months, while he was also ordered to undergo a 120-day alcohol abstinence requirement, checked by monitor.

Read next:

* Man and woman jailed over ‘ugly incident’ at County Durham house

* Defendant twice not at County Durham home for curfew tag to be fitted

* Sex offender went to Ireland for funeral rather than Durham Crown Court for trial

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