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Man jailed for filming in court

Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

A man who photographed and filmed court proceedings on his mobile phone has been jailed.

Jack Towes from Middlesbrough was sent to prison for three months after pleading guilty at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester.

Towes was watching a family member’s court appearance and was seen by a court usher to use his mobile phone to take still images and video footage of the courtroom and trial from the public gallery.

He was arrested at the scene and initially attempted to deny the phone was his, before eventually accepting guilt.

Unfortunately cases such as this are becoming more and more commonplace.

Towes cannot even plead ignorance in this case, as part of the video footage taken on his phone involves him pointing the camera at the sign which explicitly forbids cameras and recording equipment in the court building.

He showed complete disregard for these laws, flouting them openly and flagrantly in front of staff members.

I hope that this sentence sets an example for others, and that in future people will think twice about using their mobile phones to record or photograph court proceedings.

– Constable John Ennis, Court Officer


Nile Range pleads not guilty to criminal damage

Former Newcastle United Nile Ranger has pleaded not guilty to a charge of criminal damage today (April 29).

The Swindon Town FC striker entered the plea at Swindon Magistrates' Court in Wiltshire.

Nile Ranger. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The alleged offence relates to damage at a block of flats in the town earlier this month.

Ranger, 23, of Gordon Gardens, Swindon, will go on trial at the court on July 17.

The former Premiership player was released on bail.

Man jailed for manslaughter of Darlington gran

Lee Grainger has been jailed for life after admitting the manslaughter of Darlington grandmother Sybil Sibthorpe.

Grainger previously admitted the offence on the grounds of diminished responsibility after psychiatric experts found that he lost his self-control due to a head injury.

Lee Edward Grainger had previously admitted the manslaughter of Sybil Sibthorpe on the grounds of diminished responsibility after psychiatric experts found that he lost his self-control due to a head injury he suffered in a motorbike crash.

Mrs Sibthorpe, from Darlington, was found dead in the garden of her flat in Haughton Road, Darlington, on May 8 this year.

He was sentenced to serve at least 12 and a half years at Teesside Crown Court.

Ranger denies rape

Former Newcastle United striker Nile Ranger has denied a charge of rape.

The attack is said to have happened at a hotel in Jesmond, Newcastle, in January.

Ranger, 22, of Gordon Gardens, Swindon, left Newcastle United in March.

The striker will be tried by a jury at a trial currently listed in January of next year.

He was granted bail.

The former England under 19 international made more than 50 appearances for Newcastle United following his debut in August 2009.

Council tech boss defrauded Vodafone

A Redcar and Cleveland Council IT boss who defrauded Vodafone out of £724,000 and used the money to buy a hot tub and a caravan has been jailed for three years.

Steven Topham, 36, manipulated the company's credit system to order 1,700 handsets - most of which were then sold on.

Topham, from Coronation Green, Park End, Middlesbrough, could not tell police how many phones he had sold or how much he had made.

He told police he had bought a hot tub, sauna, holiday caravan, electrical goods and paid off his substantial debts.

Judge Howard Crowson said Topham, who pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and converting criminal property at an earlier hearing, was guilty of a breach of trust.

"You set out on what was clearly a professional fraud," he said.

A proceeds of crime hearing will take place next year.


'Ratboy' in prison again

A notorious criminal who was dubbed 'ratboy' when he was a youngster has been jailed again at the age of 34.

Local press on Tyneside gave Anthony Kennedy the nickname after he hid in ventilation shafts in Newcastle's Byker Wall when on the run from care homes and the police.

He ran up a number of convictions when he was a youth but vowed to go straight after saying he 'found God'.

But he has been jailed for three years at Newcastle Crown Court after admitting two counts of burglary.

Kennedy, from Blyth broke into two homes in one night in May.

It was said in court that he committed the crimes after drinking and taking medication.

It was thought he had turned his life around six years ago after he settled down with his partner and fathered two children.

He kicked heroin and started going to church regularly.

Laitner family statement

"Whenever even the name Arthur Hutchinson rears its ugly head it does nothing but create fear and distress to the victims of this heinous crime.

Let the human rights judiciary members be thrust into our position for just a day and maybe they would understand this.

We are confident that justice will be done and, more importantly, be seen to be done so that this matter be finally put to rest."

– Laitner family statement

Former police officer charged with nine counts of rape

A former Cleveland Police Officer has been charged with nine counts of rape and other sexual offences.

The 37 year old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been remanded in custody and will appear at Teesside Magistrates' Court next week.

A spokesman for the force said:

"A man has now been charged with nine counts of rape and a number of other sexual offences and is currently remanded in custody pending a further court hearing."

Reece Elliott pleads guilty to making facebook threats to kill

A man from South Shields has pleaded guilty to making threats to kill over facebook.

Reece Elliott, from the town, made threats against 200 children in a school in Tennessee, causing thousands of children in the area to miss school.

Father-of-one Reece Elliott, 24, of Fossway, South Shields, South Tyneside, went on a tribute site for a 17-year-old Tennessee girl who was killed in a car accident and left a series of messages under an assumed name.

Sensitivities were heightened in the US following the Newtown shooting which saw 20 children and six adults shot in an elementary school, 3,000 pupils in the Warren County area missed school the next day, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

"My father has three guns. I'm planning on killing him first and putting his body in a dumpster then driving to school and I'm going tokill hopefully at least 200 people all before killing myself."

– One of Reece Elliott's Facebook post
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