Stockton pair left woman terrified


TWO friends who terrified a woman in her home as they angrily went in search of her new lover were locked up today.

The victim’s former boyfriend, Mark Trippett, was jailed for two years, and her cousin, Gary Skerritt, received 12 months.

Both men admitted affray in the early hours of November 26 last year, and Trippett also pleaded guilty to common assault.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the pals forced their way into frightened Donna McKie’s home in Stockton at 1.30am.

They were said to have been looking for Miss McKie’s new partner, and shouted threats at her, prosecutor Oliver Thorne said.

Trippett, 28, followed the householder outside when she tried to leave, and grabbed her after pushing her against a wall.

Skerritt, 24, grabbed Miss McKie’s mobile telephone and smashed it when she tried to call the police, Mr Thorne told the court.

The court heard that Skerritt has previous convictions for dishonesty, drugs, motor vehicle offences and disorderly behaviour.

He was the subject of two separate conditional discharges for damaging property at the time of the offence against his cousin.

Nigel Soppitt, mitigating, said Skerritt was often used as “the referee” in disputes between his friend and Miss McKie.

“He became involved time after time after time in their feuds,” said Mr Soppitt. “He was asked to go along on this particular occasion to play referee.”

Paul Abrahams, for Trippett, said he now realises the fear he caused his ex, and is sorry, although she was never his intended target.

“He knows he behaved in a wholly inappropriate way towards her,” said Mr Abrahams. “He seems to have realised the distress it was causing, and left.”

The court heard that Trippett was in breach of a suspended prison sentence from July last year for burglary when he caused the affray.

Trippett and Skerritt, both of Campbell Court, Stockton, will have the time they have spent on remand since their arrest taken from their sentences.

Skerritt told Judge Brian Forster, QC, in a letter that he hopes to settle with his partner on Tyneside and get a cleaning job with his father.

Northern Echo

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