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But Cleveland Police questioned in court over claims Mark Trippett was only stopped because he had a far-right group’s shirt on

Mark Trippett, 35, of Carisbrooke Avenue, Middlesbrough, stopped by police and found carrying a knuckleduster

Mark Trippett, 35, of Carisbrooke Avenue, Middlesbrough, stopped by police and found carrying a knuckleduster

A man wearing a T-shirt seemingly proclaiming him to be a far-right group’s “soldier” was nicked after police caught him with a £1.50 knuckleduster.

Officers stopped Middlesbrough’s Mark Trippett while he was wearing a “right wing” North East Infidels shirt.

However, Trippett – who has EDL tattooed on his neck – insist he doesn’t share their views.

And he’s been spared prison for carrying the knuckleduster after a judge heard there was “no reason” to stop him, other than for his shirt.

Police used stop and search powers as Trippett walked along Corporation Road in Middlesbrough on July 16.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard on Wednesday that he had forgotten it was there.

“He said he didn’t intend on using it and it was a daft mistake,” added the probation service.

He handed the knuckleduster straight to police, with his solicitor adding it had been a “serene” incident.

“There were no threats to police and he handed the weapon straight over,” he said.

“Perhaps it was a macho thing at the time, and it wasn’t thought through.”

Trippett, 35, of Carisbrooke Avenue, Thorntree, had been wearing the North East Infidels shirt – emblazoned with the word “soldier” – when he was arrested.

The group marched alongside EDL and National Front members in Stockton last year.

The Teesside branch claim on Facebook the group is a “family”, but in court they were dubbed “right wing”.

However, Judge Martin Walker questioned if Cleveland Police had simply targeted him because of his shirt, with the court hearing there had been “no disorder” in the area to warrant stop and search laws being deployed.

Tracksuit-clad Trippett had pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon, which he claimed he’d bought for £1.50.

Judge Walker warned the offence would almost always carry a jail term.

But he instead handed him a one-year community order, but not without dishing out a dressing down.

“Certainly (the knuckleduster) is only used to cause serious harm to another human being,” added Judge Walker.

“That is what the knuckleduster is for – to enhance the power of the fist.”

Cleveland Police declined to comment. The weapon will be destroyed.

Gazette Live

Kenneth Graham demanded cash from the terrified Middlesbrough assistant warning her: “I’ve got a gun and I’ll shoot you”

Kenneth Graham

A robber who held up a late night store telling the terrified, lone assistant “I’ve got a gun” was jailed for three years.

Kenneth Graham, 21, arrived at the Premier shop in Middlesbrough on his bike at 9.30pm as assistant Ann Wilson was outside taking a cigarette break.

As she went behind the counter to serve him he demanded she hand over the money saying: “I’ve got a gun and I’ll shoot you”.

He was standing in front of her with his right hand inside his jacket rummaging around for something.

Prosecutor Rachel Masters told Teesside Crown Court that Miss Wilson started to panic and she hit the wrong button on the till, but eventually she took out a handful of £5 and £10 notes.

Graham, who was wearing gloves, said ‘Don’t you dare touch your phone’ and he left returning immediately to repeat ‘Don’t use your phone.”

Miss Masters added: “She was crying uncontrollably thinking that he had a gun.

“She saw a man at the cash machine and he called the police. Graham was identified as a possible suspect and he was positively identified soon after.

“She said later that she recognised him as the robber of the store having known him in the area where she lived.

“The incident left her extremely upset and scared, worrying if the person knew her and came back.

“She said ‘I feel sick about the whole incident’. When she was going to be a witness she asked for special measures.

“She said ‘I’m suffering panic attacks. I have been receiving regular support from the Victim Support network. I am struggling to do my work but it’s something I have to do because I need the money to pay my bills.”

Graham had 16 convictions for 29 offences including drugs,assault theft and burglary.

Jim Withyman, defending, said that Graham came from a respectable family but he had been threatened over a drug debt after he turned to drugs while mourning the deaths of two close friends.

He said that Graham, whose parents were in court supporting him, wished to apologise through him to Miss Wilson for the terror and upset he caused to her.

Judge Michael Taylor told Grham: “She is finding it very difficult to come to terms with what happened.

“People like her perform a valuable serviced to the public, and the message has got to out that those who commit these sort of offences will always received substantial prison sentences.

“You said that you had a gun and she was not to know whether you had one.”

Graham, of Ottawa Road,Middlesbrough, was jailed for three years after he pleaded guilty to the November 3 robbery of the store on Longlands Road, Middlesbrough.

Gazette Live

He was jailed last year for his role in the EDL rioting at the Birmingham demo in 2013. More info here.

Stuart Peter Leyshon, 35, pummelled a man as he lay defenceless in a friend’s home in the early morning.

Boxer

A former amateur boxer whose powerful blows broke a man’s face as he slept on a sofa was jailed today for 11 years.

Stuart Peter Leyshon, 35, pummelled a man as he lay defenceless in a friend’s home in the early morning.

The attack devastated the victim’s life, leaving him disabled, missing his left cheekbone and in constant pain.

The horrific multiple fractures “detached” the upper part of his face, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Doctors warned him he could die if hit again – and the depressed victim later felt he should have died in the assault.

Leyshon climbed in through the living room window of an Eston home and launched the attack on the sleeping man.

The vulnerable victim was found coughing up blood and blood pouring from him. One witness was sick after seeing the injuries.

Prosecutor Adrian Dent said: “He’d been hit so hard that his face had been fractured and those blows had detached the upper jaw on the left side from the surrounding facial bones.

“His teeth were virtually down his throat, his airway was compromised and he was, in effect, gargling his own blood.”

Meanwhile the assailant was “bouncing around” saying: “I didn’t even hit him that hard.”

Leyshon had walked to the home on Bankfields Road, Eston – on the same terrace as his own – and attacked the sleeping man after learning that his brother had a “run-in” with him.

A witness heard four thumping sounds outside after Leyshon crept in between 8 and 8.45am on August 31 last year.

The victim of the assault, who had no memory of the violence, had multiple facial fractures and underwent a five-hour operation at James Cook University Hospital.

Surgeons put wire into his face and fixed the damaged bone with six titanium plates. He will need further surgery.

After the attack, Leyshon “transformed himself” and misled paramedics claiming he had simply found the man in his badly injured state, said Mr Dent.

He persisted in these lies to police, saying he tried to help the stricken victim and did not assault him.

Mr Dent said Leyshon portrayed himself as a “hero” in a later defence statement.

Leyshon said he administered first aid as he was a trained fireman and helped the paramedics carry a stretcher.

The attacker, now of Appletree Gardens, Ormesby, Middlesbrough, began a trial denying causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

He changed his story, admitting he had lied and was responsible for the injuries, but claimed self defence, alleging the victim swung punches at him.

After the opening of the trial he changed his mind and finally admitted the serious assault.

A jury formally found him guilty following his own confession to the crime.

His previous convictions included assaulting a PC.

Robert Mochrie, defending, said Leyshon was “terrified” of his first prison sentence.

He said the defendant apologised to the victim for his “totally unacceptable” actions and the level of injury he caused.

He said Leyshon had been horrified, scared and reluctant to face up to the consequences of his behaviour.

He told how Leyshon reacted inexcusably to news of a “fracas” involving his brother.

Leyshon was a boxer in his teens but since had mental health difficulties and was in no fit state to train for the ring, added Mr Mochrie.

He also said Leyshon’s mother was terminally ill with cancer and he expected to lose her while he was in prison.

Judge Deborah Sherwin said Leyshon lost his temper after hearing of a minor incident and left his home to “extract his revenge”.

And with the powerful legacy of his boxing career, he struck blows which were “forceful in the extreme” – equal to the use of a weapon.

“Those blows caused devastating injuries,” she told him.

“The effect on him has been devastating. He’s been left permanently disabled as a result of these injuries.

“He will feel its effects for many years to come.”

She jailed Leyshon for 11 years and gave him an indefinite restraining order banning him from approaching or contacting the victim.

Speaking after the hearing Temporary Detective Sergeant Helen Wilson from Cleveland Police said: “Firstly I would like to pay tribute to the victim and his family who have shown great dignity and bravery throughout this traumatic episode.

“I welcome the sentence issued today. This reflects the severity of this attack on a sleeping man, one which led to horrific facial injuries.

“Leyshon will have a good deal of time whilst in prison to reflect on what he has done and I hope the victim and his family can now begin to rebuild their lives.”

Gazette Live

From one of his Facebook accounts:-

Stu 1

stu 2

Jamie Ray, 26, was sentenced for a charge of drunk and disorderly after being arrested during EDL protest in June

A man who was arrested during an English Defence League protest has been given a 12-month conditional discharge.

Jamie Ray appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, August 27, where he was sentenced for a charge of drunk and disorderly – an offence he was arrested for during an EDL protest in June.

The 26-year-old, of Park Road North, Middlesbrough, was also charged with two counts of failing to surrender to custody at court – on July 28 and July 23 – using threatening or abusive words or behaviour and possessing a Class B drug – both on July 9.

A charge of possessing a bladed article in a public place was withdrawn.

As previously reported about 350 people took part in a demonstration on Corporation Road, Middlesbrough town centre, while a further 150 people took part in a counter demonstration, both on June 28.

More than 300 police officers were involved in an operation during the march and counter demonstration, which had been planned for a number of months.

Ray was one of two men arrested on the day.

The other – Andrew David Johnson, 37, of Moorcock Close, Eston – previously pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly.

He was fined £35 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge.

However, Ray initially failed to turn up to court following his arrest. A warrant without bail was then issued for his arrest.

Gazette Live

SIX men with links to a controversial right-wing pressure group have been ordered to pay almost £6,000 for chanting a sickening torrent of religious abuse

EDL members outside Teesside Magistrates Court

EDL members outside Teesside Magistrates Court

The men, who are associated with the English Defence League (EDL), were sentenced at Teesside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

They were found guilty in August of shouting a highly inflammatory religious chant at Middlesbrough railway station.

Supporters of the men, some wearing EDL sweatshirts and carrying flags, gathered outside the court building yesterday as magistrates only allowed five people in the public gallery.

There was also a strong police presence both in and outside the court, along with mounted officers in Centre Square.

As reported, the group members – who all said they were associated to the EDL in some way – were convicted of religiously aggravated harassment and using threatening words or behaviour to cause harassment alarm or distress, after a two-day trial.

The incident happened at about 7.30pm on Saturday, December 10, after the group came to Middlesbrough to watch Boro play Brighton. But when they decided it was too cold, they visited several pubs in the town instead.

Trouble arose when the group arrived at the station and were heard by PC Andrew Ward, of British Transport Police, chanting EDL chants – as well as the highly inflammatory chant in question.

Addressing the defendants, Elizabeth Hutchinson, chairman of the bench, said: “It’s the court’s belief that you knew exactly what you were doing, that you deliberately set out to use racially abusive language and to intimidate members of the public.”

She added that the incident was aggravated by the fact that it was a group action which took place over a “length of time” where members of the public were present.

Between them, the defendants were fined £2,730 and ordered to pay £3,090 costs – adding up to £5,820. One person from the public gallery had to be escorted out by police after the sentencing.

Jak Beasley, 23, of Cedar Road, Bishop Auckland was fined £455 and ordered to pay £515 costs.

Ross Williams, 23, of Ebberston Court, Spennymoor, was fined £420 and ordered to pay £515 costs.

Christopher Caswell, 32, of West Auckland Road, Darlington, was fined £455 and ordered to pay £515 costs.

Paul Ross, 48, of Auckland Wind, Shildon, was fined £525 and ordered to pay £515 costs.

Dean Spence, 23, of Yew Close, Spennymoor, fined £455 and ordered to pay £515 costs.

Shaun Bunting, 33, of Fenhall Green, Newton Aycliffe, was fined £420 and ordered to pay £515 costs.

The EDL was formed in response to a protest in March 2009 organised by an Islamic group against troops returning from the war in Afghanistan.

The group states its aim is to demonstrate peacefully but conflicts with Unite Against Fascism and other opponents have led to street violence, anti-social behaviour and arrests.

In July last year, about 500 EDL supporters marched through Middlesbrough. The event, which was marked by a large police presence, passed off peacefully

Gazette Live

A GROUP of men linked to the English Defence League have been fined for chanting racially motivated abuse after attending a football match.

The six, from south-west Durham, were found guilty of shouting highly inflammatory chants at Middlesbrough railway station.

Yesterday, more than 50 members of the far-right organisation gathered outside Teesside Magistrates’ Court to show their support, and anger flared when court officials would only allow five of them in the public gallery.

There was a heavy police presence in the town after supporters met in a nearby pub before going to the court.

The court heard how the men, who represented themselves at last month’s trial, shouted abuse at the station in December last year, after Middlesbrough’s game against Brighton.

The court was told they were singing EDL chants and when they started singing a highly inflammatory religious chant, a police officer decided to eject them from the station.

As the group left, one of the men, Christopher Caswell, 32, became aggressive and raised his fist and a British Transport Police officer responded by spraying him with CS gas and calling for police back-up.

Paul Ross , 47, who told the court he runs the south-west Durham division of the EDL, said the group had just been taking part in a bit of banter.

Kevin Smallcombe, in mitigation, said: “All of the defendants will recognise the decision that this court has made, but that is not to say it is accepted, and there will be an appeal.”

Elizabeth Hutchinson, the chairwoman of the bench, said: “You knew exactly what you were doing and you deliberately set out to use racially abusive language and intimidate members of the public, in particular the PC who was carrying out his duties.”

Jak Beasley, 23, of Cedar Road, Bishop Auckland , was ordered to pay £970 in fines and costs; Caswell, 32, of West Auckland Road, Darlington, was ordered to pay £970; Ross, 48 of Auckland Wynd, Shildon , was ordered to pay £1,040; Shaun Bunting, 33, of Fenhall Green, Newton Aycliffe< , was ordered to pay £935; Ross Williams, 23, of Ebberston Court, Spennymoor , was also ordered to pay £935 and Dean Spence, 22, of Yew Close, Spennymoor, was ordered to pay £970.

When the fines were announced, one supporter was ordered out of the public gallery for swearing, and others started chanting when the six defendants left the court building.

Northern Echo