As law-abiding citizens tasted freedom from coronavirus restrictions, these criminals lost their freedom all together.

Serial perverts, killers and drug dealers were among those to be locked up at Newcastle Crown Court in July 2021.

Among the longest sentences dished out by judges was the 17 years given to ex teacher Dean Davidson, who was exposed as a predatory paedophile.

Read more: Heartbreak as Benwell dad Lee Stephenson dies after collapsing outside supermarket aged just 34

While former footballer Paul Conlon was another tale of a fall from grace to be heard in court, he was jailed for more than 11 years for killing his dad.

Also being jailed this month were 10 members of a Gateshead drugs gang who plotted to flood the town with heroin and cocaine.

Here are the criminals to be locked up in July 2021.

Jamie Donaldson

Jamie Donaldson, who has been jailed for possessing a knife
Jamie Donaldson, who has been jailed for possessing a knife

Jamie Donaldson was caught carrying a homemade knife in his pocket.

Donaldson was found with the weapon, which was constructed from a broken kitchen knife blade, while walking on a South Shields street one evening earlier this year.

The 31-year-old, who has 72 offences on his lengthy record, then told police he had the illegal item as he was “paranoid”, a court was told.

However, Donaldson, of Stanhope Street, in South Shields, was put behind bars after he pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed article and Newcastle Crown Court was told he already had three past convictions for having weapons.

He was jailed for 22 weeks.

Sam York

Sam York, who has been jailed for eight months for breaching a restraining order
Sam York, who has been jailed for eight months for breaching a restraining order

This violent bully left his ex fearing for her life when he turned up at her home and threatened to "burn her face off".

In 2017, brute Sam York was locked up and given a restraining order, which banned him from contacting his former partner, after he broke into her home while she was in bed and punched and bit her.

But the 32-year-old flouted the order and was jailed once more in 2018 when he went to her address, again while she slept, and told her "she was going to die" as he placed his hands around her throat.

However, the thug still failed to learn his lesson and, on June 17 this year, he turned up at her home again, Newcastle Crown Court was told.

This time York threatened to "burn her face off".

York, of Albion Terrace, in Lynemouth, Northumberland, admitted one count of breaching a restraining order and was locked up for eight months.

Shaun Taylor

Mugshot on grey background shows white man with short, light coloured hair and a short beard
Shaun Taylor, of South Shields

This drug dealer persuaded a woman to hide cocaine in her underwear in a bid to escape justice.

Police were called on July 6, 2019, to Galsworthy Road, South Shields, after council workers spotted people “acting suspiciously” inside a white Mercedes on CCTV, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

In the driver’s seat was Shaun Taylor, 38, who police spotted handing something to passenger Lee Carl Coleman, also aged 38.

A search of the car uncovered caches of cannabis and cocaine hidden throughout the car, including in the glove box and pockets, as well as handwritten “dealer’s lists” and £205 in cash.

Also found were car keys, bearing Coleman’s fingerprints, which opened another vehicle, parked nearby, inside which was a stash of amphetamine, worth between £70 and £100, along with “dealer’s scales” and drug paraphernalia.

Police estimated the value of the cocaine at between £825 and £990, with £50 to £70 of cannabis, the court heard.

Among the drugs found in the Mercedes were 23 wraps of cocaine, which Jade Louise Gallagher, sitting in the back seat, had put in her underwear after Taylor told her to hide them.

Taylor, of Claypit Close, South Shields, was sentenced to 27 months behind bars after pleading guilty to two counts of possessing controlled drugs, cocaine and cannabis, with intent to supply.

Coleman, of Drake Close, South Shields was given a six-month curfew and 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirement after his guilty plea to one count of possessing amphetamine with intent to supply.

Gallagher, 29 of Green Lane, South Shields, must complete 80 hours of unpaid work while her 12-month sentence was suspended for a year for her guilty plea to one count of possession of cocaine with intent to supply.

Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson

This paedophile got into bed with two sleeping young girls in sex attacks 15 years apart.

Wayne Thompson is now behind bars after a jury convicted him of raping a teenager and sexually assaulting another.

The 34-year-old, of Gateshead, preyed on his young victim as she slept, entering her room and carrying out the sickening attack in 2019.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the girl woke up to find Thompson on top of her.

Despite being “scared”, she told someone what had happened to her the next day, and Thompson was charged with rape.

While he was awaiting trial, a second victim came forward to say she had been sexually assaulted 15 years earlier by Thompson.

She explained how he had entered her room as she slept and sexually assaulted her.

Thompson denied both allegations, but a jury found him guilty of rape and assault by penetration.

Thompson was jailed for 15 years, with an extended licence period of five years, and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

John Wright

John Wright drove into his former family home

Angry John Wright rammed his car into his former family home after his 26-year relationship ended.

Dad-of-three Wright had fallen into despair after splitting from his wife and former teenage sweetheart Fiona.

A court heard he had become increasingly unpredictable and his family reported issues with anger and aggression in the lead-up to the break-up.

He was struggling to cope with the separation but was discharged by a mental health team on November 26 last year despite his and his family’s protestations.

Days later, on December 4, Mrs Wright and their three children were at home on Haig Road, Bedlington, Northumberland, in the early evening when he turned up in a Volkswagen Bora.

Barry Robson, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court: “They heard a loud bang and Mrs Wright asked her daughter to look outside. She said, ‘Dad has just crashed into your car.’

“Mrs Wright ran to the bedroom window and saw a silver car reverse away from her car into the middle of the road.

“The car accelerated over the drive and crashed into the front of the house.

“She rang the police but the car again reversed and accelerated towards the front of the house.

“Each time the car hit the house, she could feel the building shake so much she thought it would collapse.”

By the time officers arrived, he had fled but the VW was still under the living room window with the engine running.

The fire brigade were called out over concerns about the structural stability of the house.

Wright, 40, of Millfield Court, Bedlington, pleaded guilty to damaging property being reckless as to whether life was endangered and a count of damaging property in relation to the car.

He was jailed for two years and given a restraining order.

Anthony Burn

Convicted rapist Anthony Burn

Prolific child rapist Anthony Burn targeted schoolgirls during an abuse campaign lasting almost 40 years.

All his victims were under the age of 16 when they were attacked.

Burn began abusing one of the victims in Northumberland in the early 80s and repeatedly raped her for two years.

He then began repeatedly abusing two other victims over a two-year period.

And in the early 90s, Burn who is originally from Northumberland, then began a campaign of abuse on two further victims, repeatedly attacking one of them over a period of 16 years.

When one of the victims spoke out in 2018 an investigation was launched by Northumbria Police.

Enquiries led detectives to Cambridgeshire, where Burn had relocated in the early 2000s.

In 2020, a report was made to Cambridgeshire Police where a victim had been raped on several occasions and named Anthony Burn as the suspect. Burn was also named as the offender in another rape case whereby the victim was repeatedly attacked for a period of seven years. All in similar circumstances to the Northumbria victims.

Burn, of Sycamore Drive in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, pleaded guilty to twelve charges of rape and one charge of assault by penetration.

He was jailed for life with a minimum term of 15 years.

He must also sign on to the Sex Offenders' Register for life.

Kenneth Woods

Kenneth Woods subjected his former partner to a horrific attack

Dangerous domestic violence bully Kenneth Woods left his petrified ex-partner looking “like the Elephant Man” with a shocking attack.

The 40-year-old, who has a long history of abusing women and ignoring court orders imposed to protect them, launched a sustained attack using kicks, stamps and punches on Tammy Parker in her own home.

She said she looked like "the Elephant Man" after the attack.

A court heard Woods, of Byker, Newcastle, had been released from prison for an earlier assault on her just weeks before and ignored a restraining order by visiting her.

Woods, of no fixed address but who was living in Byker, near his victim, pleaded guilty to GBH with intent and breaching a restraining order.

He was jailed for six years with an extended licence period of a further four years as a judge decided he should be categorised as dangerous.

The court heard he has 38 previous convictions, including for breaching restraining orders and a non-molestation order in relation to a previous partner.

Paul Conlon

Paul Conlon

Former professional footballer Paul Conlon was “like an animal” as he carried out a fatal attack on his elderly dad.

Conlon, who played for Sunderland and Hartlepool in a career which ended when he was 20, flew into a rage with 77-year-old Harry on Christmas Eve.

After an innocuous comment by the pensioner, which Conlon took as a personal slight, he became enraged and launched a ferocious and sustained attack – punching, throttling and throwing a shoe at him and also knocking his mum over.

A court heard Harry, who was 5ft 5ins and just over eight stone, was powerless to resist the 43-year-old’s alcoholic’s violence.

Former boxer Harry told police, before his condition deteriorated, that he had never been hit so hard and that he had been given “a good hiding” by his son.

He was left with injuries including bleeding on the brain and died after contracting pneumonia on January 18.

Conlon admitted manslaughter and the original charge of murder was dropped. He has now been jailed for 11 years and 10 months.

Thomas Ratcliff

Thomas Ratcliff has been jailed for 31 months
Thomas Ratcliff has been jailed for 31 months

This knife-wielding brute punched his own mother unconscious in front of her petrified grandchildren.

Thomas Ratcliff subjected his 58-year-old mum to a horrifying attack in her own home that left her with a fractured cheekbone and eye socket.

The incident came just months after the 29-year-old was involved in a car crash involving an off-duty police officer following a cocaine session. He then led police on a pursuit around Sunderland before crashing into a property.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Ratcliff turned up at his mum’s address on October 12 last year while she was looking after her daughter’s children – aged 10, seven and two.

She described her son’s behaviour while under the influence of drugs as “aggressive and violent” and said she did not like him being around her grandchildren.

Newcastle Crown Court heard his mum attempted to dial 999 when he refused to leave but this enraged Ratcliff, who snatched her phone and stamped on it.

He went on to punch his mother multiple times in the face, knocking her unconsciousness in front of her horrified grandchildren.

The victim, who had a number of health conditions at the time, was able to call the police when she woke up and Ratcliff was later arrested.

She was taken to hospital after suffering a fractured left cheekbone and eye socket, soreness and bruising to her face and a cut to her eyebrow.

The court heard how Ratcliff’s mum was still suffering with visibility issues in her left eye as a result of the attack.

At a plea and trial preparation hearing Ratcliff pleaded not guilty but later admitted the offences two months before the trial was due to take place.

Ratcliff, of St Luke’s Road, Sunderland, also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without a licence, driving without insurance and driving while under the influence of cocaine.

The court heard how Ratcliff had 10 convictions for 14 offences, including assaults.

He was jailed for 31 months and banned from driving for three years.

Darryn Seaman

Convicted rapist Darryn Seaman has been jailed for failing to update police with his address
Convicted rapist Darryn Seaman has been jailed for failing to update police with his address

This convicted rapist has been sent back to prison after failing to update police with his details.

Darryn Seaman was given a five-year sentence in 2007 for rape and was made to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

The 52-year-old must follow strict conditions so he can be monitored by the authorities, including making them aware of where he is living and who he is staying with.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Seaman had failed to notify police his address had changed following the breakdown in his relationship with his ex-partner in May last year.

He moved out of their home in Southcroft, Washington, but did occasionally stay at the address up until September.

Seaman lived in a number of premises over a 12-month period, including at Toll Bar House on Ryhope Road, Sunderland.

On a number of occasions he was living in a van, but Seaman claimed he did not know he had to tell police this.

Seaman was arrested on June 16 and accepted he had been living at various addresses and failed to tell the police because it was “easier”.

He appeared at Newcastle Crown Court for sentencing after admitting failing to comply with a notification requirement.

The court heard how Seaman, of Southcroft, Fatfield, Washington, has 10 previous convictions for 14 offences.

Since his rape conviction, he had failed to comply with notification requirements in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 with the latest resulting in a 13-week custodial sentence.

He was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison.

Dean Oliver

Dean Oliver
Dean Oliver

This man launched a “shocking” attack on his friend because he thought he had stolen his daughters’ birthday money, a court heard.

Dean Oliver stamped on his victim’s head and punched him repeatedly, leaving him lying injured on the floor of the hostel where they both lived.

Newcastle Crown Court heard police were called to Tyneside Foyer, just off Westgate Road in Newcastle, on October 16 last year.

CCTV footage from the corridor of the building – a hostel for people suffering from addiction – shows Oliver kicking the door to one of the rooms.

When someone comes out, both men can be seen having a confrontation in the hallway before Oliver drags his victim to the ground before punching him several times and stamping on his head.

Oliver, 25, then leaves but returns to hit his friend again.

Oliver pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage and was sentenced to 12 months behind bars.

Keith Pulling

Keith Pulling

This serial crook was caught driving a stolen Motability car with stolen licence plates when he crashed it into another vehicle.

Keith Pulling collided with a car that had pulled up outside a pub on Commercial Road in Hendon, Sunderland, on February 2 last year.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the driver who had been hit got out of his car and took pictures of the culprit – Pulling – behind the wheel of an orange Vauxhall Mokka.

The court heard the car Pulling was driving was found to have been a Motability vehicle stolen a month earlier from the home of a man with “a number of health issues” who “relied on it to get around”.

The court heard Pulling, 41, was arrested later that day and linked to the car by a fingerprint on a bag inside the vehicle.

While under investigation for the offences, Pulling attempted to steal from a house in the middle of the night on April 27.

Mr O’Sullivan said the resident woke up to a notification on his phone saying his CCTV cameras had picked up movement.

He checked the footage, which showed a man approach his house at 4.12am and try the front door handle, as well as the handles to both cars in the driveway, before walking off.

Pulling, of Gray Road, Hendon, Sunderland, was convicted of attempted burglary, failing to stop after an accident, driving without insurance. criminal damage and two counts of handling stolen goods.

He was jailed for a total of 27 months.

Louis Davison

Louis Davison

A woman checked her ex-boyfriend’s Instagram account for evidence of cheating and found he had used fake profiles to initiate sex chat with underage girls.

Louis Davison pretended to be 15 years old to engage in explicit conversations with girls aged from 13 to 15 on the social media site.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Davison asked a 13-year-old to send him a video of herself carrying out a sexual act during an exchange of messages in 2018.

And in two Instagram conversations in 2019 he asked two girls, aged 13 and 14 or 15, about what sexual activity they’d engaged in.

Davison, now 22, was discovered last year when his girlfriend noticed he was spending a lot of time on his phone and suspected him of having an affair.

The couple split up and Davison left, the court heard.

But his ex-partner still had access to his Instagram account and checked it “because of her suspicion”.

She was shocked to see two accounts where Davison appeared to be pretending to be 15 years old and engaging in sexual communication with girls “about 13 years old”.

Davison’s ex-partner took screenshots of the accounts and reported the matter to the police, also finding a phone behind a panel which she believed was his.

The court heard Davison first told police “it was all a ruse to get out of the relationship,” but later admitted sending “dirty” messages and pretending to be 15, because “it was more likely the girls would respond”.

Davison, of Eland Close, Kenton Bar, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to incite a 13-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity, and two counts of sexual communication with underage females.

He was jailed for two years.

Barry Radford

Barry Radford

Convicted sex offender Barry Radford had more than a decade added to his 12 year prison sentence - after further victims bravely came forward to police.

Barry Radford was convicted in 2019 for a string of sexual offences on four teenage boys including grooming and sexual activity. He was also convicted of being in possession of more than 1,000 indecent images of children.

In May 2019, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison but after his conviction, two more victims courageously came forward to report they had also been abused by the 54-year-old.

Radford was interviewed about the new offences by detectives before being charged with four counts of rape, six counts of sexual assault and two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

In October, Radford, of no fixed address but previously of Greystoke Avenue, Whickham, pleaded guilty to 12 sexual offences against children at Newcastle Crown Court.

He re-appeared at the same court where he saw his 12-year sentence extended by a further 11 years.

Kyle Walsh

Kyle Walsh has been jailed for six months
Kyle Walsh has been jailed for six months

This danger driver who denied he was at the wheel when he narrowly missed a cyclist was jailed after being caught out by the rider’s head cam footage.

Kyle Walsh was given six months for dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice.

Newcastle Crown Court had heard the cyclist was nearly hit on Suffolk Street, Sunderland by a speeding VW Passat on the wrong side of the road.

The rider reviewed his head cam footage and saw that the car had been weaving in and out of traffic.

The video was given to police who identified Walsh, 33, of Cairo Street in Hendon, Sunderland, as a named driver on the insurance policy.

Walsh returned the fixed penalty notice, claiming an associate was behind the wheel – but police found that man was on remand in jail, and Walsh was identified as the driver. He was jailed for six months.

Scott Swindle

Paedophile Scott Swindle has been sentenced to 15 months in prison
Paedophile Scott Swindle has been sentenced to 15 months in prison

This paedophile carried out a sex act while talking to what he thought was a 14-year-old girl on a video call while working as a carer.

Scott Swindle had been sending lewd messages to a member of the vigilante group Child Online Safety Team posing as a teenager on social network and dating app Skout.

He called her "beautiful" and "sexy" and requested naked pictures of her after sending her images of his penis.

Swindle said he wanted to take the 14-year-old's virginity and even spoke of the pair having a threesome with his girlfriend.

He acknowledged during the sick conversations that what he was doing was "probably illegal" but insisted she was "worth the risk".

Newcastle Crown Court heard it was on December 16, 2019, when Swindle first contacted the decoy profile using a fake profile under the name 'Chris'.

The 34-year-old did not respond to requests from the decoy for an image of his face as he stated he believed it was "probably illegal" for him to be even talking to her.

The conversation switched to video calls, during which Swindle would perform sex acts to who he thought was a 14-year-old girl.

The court heard that he performed the sexual act from a number of locations including his place of work where he was a carer.

Swindle was rumbled on January 5 last year when he allowed his face to be seen on screen during a video call.

The decoy was able to take a screenshot and identified the emblem on his shirt which revealed his place of work.

Police were called and officers arrested Swindle, who admitted his offences when interviewed.

He pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act.

Swindle, from Hetton, was jailed for 15 months.

He will also be subject to a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and will have to sign the sex offenders register for a decade.

Martin Pace

Martin Pace

A police officer and paramedic were subjected to a disgraceful attack by this drunken thug as they tried to help him.

Members of the public had phoned the emergency services after spotting Martin Pace lying in the street, in Sunderland.

An ambulance crew found he was extremely intoxicated and were treating him when a PC arrived on the scene.

After regaining consciousness, Pace began to shun their help and walked off but the police officer tried to persuade him not to because he was worried about his condition and he had been reported as missing by a mental health crisis team.

But the 35-year-old responded with aggression, which escalated when the officer tried to arrest him for being drunk and disorderly.

Pace pushed the PC’s head into the ground, tried to bite him and took his baton and tried to hit him with it a number of times.

When a female paramedic tried to intervene to help the policeman, Pace tried to bite her too.

Newcastle Crown Court heard he was already on a community order for spitting at a police officer at the time.

Now Pace has been jailed for eight months at Newcastle Crown Court.

Craig Curry

Craig Curry, who has been jailed for 19 months for affray
Craig Curry, who has been jailed for 19 months for affray

Craig Curry has been jailed after he hit the owners of a takeaway with a hockey stick.

Curry had earlier demanded a refund from Linzi’s fast food outlet, on Split Crow Road, Gateshead, and turned aggressive when he was offered only £2.50 of the £5 he wanted.

The 30-year-old then left the scene but returned two days later and threatened to “chop up” the husband and wife owners, Newcastle Crown Court was told.

Fearing for his safety, the male grabbed a hockey stick from his car and struck Curry with it, causing a deep gash to his head.

But, rather than run away, the dad-of-one disarmed the takeaway boss and hit him a number of times, causing him to fall unconscious and suffer a black eye and orbital wall fracture.

Curry also hit the victim’s wife as she tried to help him, breaking her wrist.

Now, Curry, of Whitehall Road, Gateshead, has been jailed for 19 months after he pleaded guilty to affray.

Mark French

Mark French has been jailed after he posted a picture of himself online posing with a stolen £20,000 Jaguar.

This dangerous driver was jailed after police found a picture of him posing with a stolen £20,000 Jaguar, which he posted online.

Police spotted Mark French, of Burdon Lane, Sunderland, behind the wheel of a luxury car on January 26.

Instead of pulling over, French hit the accelerator and led the police in a wild chase.

He drove dangerously by failing to give way at roundabouts and driving at high speed over a pedestrianised grassy area in a desperate bid to avoid the police from catching up to him.

Officers temporarily abandoned the pursuit, with the vehicle later found abandoned.

But the 27-year-old disqualified driver forgot he had foolishly boasted about the luxury car online, say police.

Police officers spotted a picture posted on his Facebook account three days earlier of him brazenly sat on the bonnet of the stolen Jaguar posing for a picture.

On the image, he wrote the word “wild” over the number plate.

French was subsequently arrested and went on to admit handling stolen goods, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and having no insurance.

He was jailed for 27 months at Newcastle Crown Court.

French committed the act while still on licence for a previous driving offence where he jumped a red light and crashed into a car.

That incident on Ryhope Road in Sunderland resulted in a pensioner being left in a six-week coma with French subsequently jailed for 18 months and disqualified from driving.

Craig Elliott

Craig Elliott

Cocaine courier Craig Elliott started selling cocaine after getting addicted to it and racking up debts.

When police raided his home on Heddon View in Winlaton, Gateshead, they found evidence which showed he had been selling to between five and ten people for around a year.

The 34-year-old, who has no previous convictions, has been locked up for two years and four months after pleading guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply and supplying cocaine.

Robert Lockhart

Benefit cheat Robert Lockhart pocketed thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money he wasn’t entitled to.

Lockhart claimed five different benefits amounting to more than £46,000 over a 10-year period.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 62-year-old claimed Jobseekers Allowance, income support, Universal Credit, employment support allowance and housing benefit on the basis he was living alone.

But in fact he was living with his partner, who was working, which he failed to declare.

The court heard his partner worked 19.5 hours a week as a care assistant, earning £8.30 an hour.

She had provided her home address as Thropton Place, North Shields, the same as Lockhart’s.

When interviewed, he made full admissions and said he had issues with alcohol and his temper and described his relationship as unstable.

Lockhart pleaded guilty to five counts of benefit fraud to the total value of £46,221.

He was jailed for eight months.

Raymond Sunley

Raymond Sunley of Hillside, Winlaton

This "dangerous predator" who tried to lure what he thought was a 14-year-old girl into sex has been jailed.

Raymond Sunley appeared at Newcastle Crown Court where he was sentenced to three years imprisonment for facilitating and arranging a child sex offence.

The 69-year-old was arrested on January 21 after arranging to meet a person he believed to be a teenager for a sexual encounter.

However, Sunley had in fact been communicating with officers from Northumbria Police, and he was arrested as part of an ongoing operation involving specialist detectives from the force's Online Investigation Team (POLIT).

Sunley of Hillside, Winlaton, pleaded guilty and was jailed for three years. He was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) and must sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

Robert Barnett

Robert Barnett was seen running into the fire in what he claimed was an attempt to save his neighbour living above

This arsonist was hailed a hero after he risked his life to try to save his upstairs neighbour as fire engulfed her flat.

But he has now been jailed after admitting he was the villain who started the blaze.

Robert Barnett, of no fixed abode, was initially hailed as courageous after going into the blazing property and suffering burns in the process.

But, in fact, he was the arsonist responsible for the fire as he tried to drive Serena Burrell out over his concerns about noise.

A court heard he believed the flat on Whitehall Terrace, Sunderland, was empty but in fact Ms Burrell was asleep.

The fire blocked her only exit and she was forced to leap out of a first floor window, suffering fractures to her ankle, spine and elbow when she landed.

Now Barnett, 30, who admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, has been jailed for three years and seven month at Newcastle Crown Court.

Dean Davidson

Dean Davidson, 38, admitted 18 sexual offences over 10 years
Dean Davidson, 38, admitted 18 sexual offences over 10 years

Ex teacher Dean Davidson preyed on children online and in person for his own sexual gratification from 2004 until 2020.

But the 38-year-old was arrested in October 2020 after police received intelligence from Instagram that he had shared an indecent image of a child via the app.

Specialist detectives from Northumbria Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) seized Davidson’s digital devices - uncovering a bank of disturbing images and videos. This led to uncovering further offline offending.

They discovered that Davidson used fake profiles under a number of different aliases, pretending to be both young boys and girls, to develop online relationships with children and deceive them into sharing photographs.

Davidson appeared at Newcastle Crown Court in April 2021 and pleaded guilty to all charges which included multiple counts of sexual activity with a child, inciting sexual activity with a child, making indecent images of a child, possession of extreme pornography and distributing indecent images.

And he has now been jailed for 17 years behind bars, and will service another six years on extended licence.

Declan Lancaster

Declan Lancaster

Arsonist Declan Lancaster started a fire that went on to kill a man who was trapped inside his room.

For nearly two years, Declan Lancaster kept secret that he started the fire at the Manor House in Easington Lane that resulted in the death of Patryk Mortimer.

Patryk, 39, was found unconscious in the early hours of November 3, 2018, after flames had engulfed the hostel-style premises.

Lancaster had been socialising inside the address with friends before he decided to start a fire in a small cupboard in the hallway. All other residents were able to escape but Patryk was later found dead outside his room.

The fire sparked a two-year investigation as detectives trawled through more than 600 hours of CCTV footage, took hundreds of statements and interviewed various suspects in a bid to determine who was responsible.

But in August last year, while on remand for an unrelated offence, Lancaster confessed to prison staff and later police that he killed Patryk and couldn’t live with it on his conscience any longer.

The 24-year-old pleaded guilty to manslaughter and arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

And he has now been handed him a life sentence with a minimum of five years.

John Gillis

John Gillis

This pensioner who subjected a young girl to a campaign of rape which left her traumatised for life has been jailed for 23 years.

John Gillis, 81, arrogantly thought he had got away with the despicable abuse he carried out many years ago.

But justice has finally caught up with him and he is now likely to die in prison as he was told he must serve two-thirds of the 23 years behind bars.

The court heard the victim was just seven years old when he was targeted.

Gillis, of Plessey Road, Blyth, Northumberland, was convicted after a trial in May of six counts of rape, three of them when the victim was under 13, and two of indecent assault.

Dominic Robson

Dominic Robson

Robson and Jordan Bell had met up for a drink and a catch up in Sunderland on July 10 last year.

Jordan, 27, who was drunk and unsteady on his feet, left the pub with Robson, and his girlfriend, and the animosity appeared to have calmed.

But once outside, Robson, who had three amateur boxing bouts and had trained for six or seven years, ended up swinging a punch at his brother, knocking him over and causing catastrophic injuries when he hit his head on the ground.

Robson, 26, of Birchwood, South Hylton, Sunderland, who had been adopted by another family as a child, pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier in the year and has now been jailed for five years and two months at Newcastle Crown Court.

Daniel Lake and Joe Corner

Daniel Lake (left) and Joe Corner
Daniel Lake (left) and Joe Corner

These violent thugs have been jailed after hatching a plot to kidnap a teenager and blackmail his family.

Daniel Lake and Joe Corner are behind bars after Lake bombarded the victim's mother with calls and threatened to "shoot his ear off" before the pair bundled him into a car and confronted his family at their home.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Lake, also known as ‘Keithy’ had confronted the victim after he had been enticed to a property where he threatened him and forced him to call his mother begging for cash.

When his mother hung up believing the call to be a hoax, Lake soon bombarded her with more calls – making sure she could hear her son screaming in the background and making threats to "shoot his ear off" if she didn’t pay a sum of £2,000 – which later increased to £4,000.

Lake and his accomplice Joe Corner, who had been present at the address, then bundled their victim into a car and travelled to his home where a further violent confrontation took place.

With Corner’s support, Lake continued to demand cash from the panic-stricken family and an altercation broke out in which Lake subjected the victim’s dad to a nasty assault.

After the pair fled the scene, the family called the police and an investigation was launched.

Lake and Corner were arrested a short time later and charged. They appeared at Newcastle Crown Court where they admitted their respective roles in the conspiracy.

Lake, 30, of Landseer Gardens, South Shields admitted kidnap, blackmail and affray and was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Corner, 26, of Birkdale, South Shields, admitted affray and possession of a bladed weapon and was jailed for nine months.

Owen Cope

Owen Cope, of Birtley, has been jailed for aggravated burglary and possession of an offensive weapon after appearing at Newcastle Crown Court
Owen Cope, of Birtley, has been jailed for aggravated burglary and possession of an offensive weapon after appearing at Newcastle Crown Court

Violent bully Owen Cope has been jailed after he threatened his neighbour with a knife as their children screamed “don’t kill daddy”.

Cope, 33, was jailed for eight years and eight months after forcing his way into the home of his neighbours in Birtley, Gateshead, last October, after discovering they had socialised with one of his rival associates.

During the heated exchange Cope lunged towards the dad, 35, and held a knife to his throat as the couple’s terrified children watched on.

The father was able to deflect the blow before his partner jumped on Cope’s back and pulled him off her husband.

Northumbria Police investigating officer Det Con Craig Testo and Gateshead Council arranged to move the family out of the area and they bravely gave evidence against Cope.

Cope, of Dorset Avenue, Birtley, was jailed at Newcastle Crown Court and was also handed a 10-year restraining order and made to pay a victim surcharge of £190.

Robert Collyer

Robert Collyer

Jilted Robert Collyer threatened to mutilate his former partner's private parts then sent sex videos of her to her friend.

Collyer made repeated vile threats about cutting the woman if she ignored him in a series of calls and messages, in which he also said he was going to kill her.

Newcastle Crown Court heard he also told her he would distribute indecent images of her to her friends and family.

Collyer, 22, of Newbolt Court, Felling, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to harassment and disclosing a private sexual image without consent and was jailed for 12 months and given a restraining order.

Jason Matheson

Jason Matheson

This driver left a trail of destruction after smashing into two cars and a house.

Having stolen a Mercedes GL350 from a woman, Jason Matheson lost control in South Tyneside.

He crashed into the back of a mum driving a Nissan with her young child in the car, weaved onto the wrong side of the road and hit a Vauxhall Corsa, then careered into the corner of a house.

Matheson, who was was around three times the drink drive limit, eventually abandoned the car and went for a pint, when police caught up with him.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the Mercedes belonged to a woman he had formed a relationship with. They fell out and Matheson, who’d had a significant amount to drink, took the car without permission and intended to drive home to Yorkshire. He had driven just three miles when he first lost control.

Matheson pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, driving while unfit through drink and driving without a licence or insurance. He was jailed for 15 months and will be banned from driving for three years after his release.

John Crawford, defending, said Matheson, 45, of Ashton View, Harehills, Leeds, had suffered blackouts due to a heart condition, which he suggests might explain his lack of recollection about the offences.

Jack Phillipson

Jack Phillipson, who has been jailed for arson
Jack Phillipson, who has been jailed for arson

A tenant who caused thousands of pounds of damage when he set fire to a flat rented to him by an NHS doctor has been locked up.

Jack Phillipson, who has a previous conviction for arson from 2017, started the blaze by putting a flame to a settee in the maisonette, which was on the third floor of four storey building.

Firefighters attended the scene in Washington and were met by a "substantial" fire, which was reaching the floor above, Newcastle Crown Court was told.

Inside, it was discovered Phillipson had also left the oven on, with the door open, and had turned on the taps in the bathroom sink with the plug in, causing it to overflow.

An investigation was launched and it was discovered the fire had been started deliberately on the sofa.

The court heard that £29,000-worth of damage had been caused and the owner of the flat, an NHS doctor, had been left considerably stressed during a time when she was helping in the battle against Covid-19.

Phillipson, of no fixed abode, was later traced to his mother's address but claimed the fire had been accidental after he threw a cushion at a candle.

However, the-27-year-old later admitted it was deliberate and has now been jailed for six years, with an extended licence of period of three years, after pleading guilty to arson being reckless as to endanger life.

James Murray

James Murray pictured leaving South Tyneside Magistrates' Court
James Murray pictured leaving South Tyneside Magistrates' Court

A drunk has been jailed after he repeatedly lunged at a woman with a knife because he didn't like her new partner.

James Murray, who was previously jailed for 12 months in 2017 for carrying a blade, had been drinking with the the victim and her boyfriend at an address in Gateshead when a row erupted.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the pair left the property and returned to the woman's home in Lough Court, leaving Murray behind.

However, just 15 minutes later, the 49-year-old appeared on the victim's doorstep, armed with a kitchen knife and shouting abuse.

He lunged at the woman "several times" before repeatedly stabbing the door after she managed to close it.

Murray, of Redheugh Court, in Gateshead, was locked-up for 10 months after he pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article, assault and criminal damage.

Drugs gang

A drugs gang are today behind bars after flooding streets in Gateshead with heroin and cocaine
A drugs gang are today behind bars after flooding streets in Gateshead with heroin and cocaine

A drugs gang are behind bars after flooding streets in Gateshead with heroin and cocaine.

Brazen Oliver Howlett headed-up the 12-strong group and even continued to direct the large-scale "business" while in prison by using an illicit mobile phone.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that, over a period of a year between July 2018 and 2019, the 31-year-old was in charge of a conspiracy, which saw class A drugs being dealt to more than 100 "customers" a day and raking in an average of £2,600 daily.

But, unbeknown to him and his fellow dealers, police were one-step ahead and were secretly gathering covert evidence, including the use of an undercover officer.

That officer repeatedly managed to buy heroin and cocaine from the gang by ringing a phone number, known to the local drug-using community as the "Ollie line", and arranging to meet in various locations in Gateshead.

Messages found on mobiles, which were subsequently seized, also proved who was involved in the operation and what their respective roles were.

Howlett, of Easedale Gardens, in Low Fell, Gateshead, headed-up the conspiracy, while his partner Paige Bullock, 23, of Oakwood, in Leam Lane, and her father, Paul Bullock, 46, of Broomlaw, in Gateshead, were next in line and acted in a "management" capacity.

The court heard that Gordon Hunter, 37, of Bondene Avenue West, in Gateshead, was Howlett's "lieutenant", while Steven Douglas, 33, of Mulbery Gardens, in Felling, and convicted paedophile Wayne Thompson, 34, of Easington Avenue, in Wrekenton, who has since been jailed for 15 years for rape, were drivers and supplied the drugs to the "customers".

All pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to supply heroin and have now been locked-up for varying lengths of time.

Howlett has been jailed for 11 years and seven months, Paige and Paul Bullock for eight years and one month each, Douglas for seven years and two months, Thompson for five years and Hunter for nine years.

(L-R) Top: Bryan Sewell, Paul McKenna; bottom: Kenneth James, Dylan Angus

Sentences were also issued to other members of the gang, which operated in Felling and other parts of Gateshead.

Criminals Paul McKenna, Bryan Sewell, Kenneth James and Dylan Angus have followed their bosses behind bars.

Dealer Sewell, 26, of Howe Street, Gateshead, would go on to supply the undercover officer with heroin or cocaine on a total of 15 occasions over two months.

McKenna, 36, of Elizabeth Avenue, Birtley, also acted as a driver and a dealer for the gang over one month, having lost his job as a delivery driver close to Christmas.

Sentencing Sewell to six years and five months and McKenna to four years and nine months behind bars, Judge Edward Bindloss said McKenna had "thrown himself wholeheartedly into this operation" while Sewell was aware of the scale of the operation and had a "stock" of drugs available.

James, 38, of Sherburn Terrace, Gateshead, drove vehicles for the gang twice, in December 2018 and January 2019, while Angus 25, of Wardle Gardens, Felling, drove for them once, and was arrested with cash, a drugs phone and a supply of drugs in the car.

Both James and Angus were sentenced to three years and two months in prison.

Mary Stokes

Mary Stokes who crashed her car killing her daughter and young cousin
Mary Stokes who crashed her car killing her daughter and young cousin

A mum was showing off in an unroadworthy car before causing a "catastrophic" head-on crash which killed her three-year-old daughter and her teenage cousin.

Mary Stokes, 23, an uninsured and unlicensed driver, had five passengers in her Peugeot 206 which had been sold for scrap after failing its MOT, a court heard.

Two small children were not in child seats during her "persistent" spell of bad driving on the A1068 near Horden, County Durham, last September, Durham Crown Court was told.

Her three-year-old daughter Kelsey was thrown from the car and was killed, Richard Bennett, prosecuting, said.

The defendant’s 17-year-old cousin Shauna Stokes, who was travelling in the back of the car, died in hospital the following day, having been thrown halfway out of the car.

Three other under-18s were seriously injured in the crash, as was the driver of a Mercedes van which the Peugeot 206 hit head-on.

Stokes admitted two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and five counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

She was jailed for three years and eight months and disqualified from driving for seven years.

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