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'Vigilante' targeted the wrong house; HE THOUGHT A CHILD RAPIST LIVED IN HOME.

Byline: IAN JOHNSON ian.johnson@reachplc.com

A HAPLESS vigilante thought he was smashing a child rapist's windows - but he targeted the wrong house.

Instead dopey Robert Lawson broke the windows of a "terrified" pensioner called Madge.

The hooded Middlesbrough yob then got a taste of his own medicine - when an angry mob chased after him.

Teesside Magistrates Court heard how men - furious at what he'd done to Madge - hounded him through a wooded area before he was tackled to the ground.

"As this was going on he was shouting 'he's a rapist, he deserves it'" said prosecutor Paul Doney.

The 49-year-old benefits claimant was slammed by a judge as he narrowly avoided prison.

"It shows utter incompetence in not being able to find the right address," said District Judge Helen Cousins.

The court heard how neighbours heard banging and smashing late at night before spotting

Lawson with a "big plank" of wood.

He could be heard claiming that "it was a paedophile" who lived there.

However, it wasn't, and the chase unfolded, before he was detained and Cleveland Police were called.

It was only then did Lawson realise his massive error.

The defendant had been told of the apparent sex offender's address, but mitigating, his solicitor Danielle Hewitt admitted: "The defendant basically attacked the wrong house. On the night in question he was intoxicated and he was upset. Unfortunately it was the wrong house and the poor lady inside suffered the terror of having her windows smashed."

When he was searched in Hillel Walk, Acklam, police discovered a Stanley knife on the man, which he claims he'd "absentmindedly"

forgot about following a spot of decorating.

His brief claimed he'd been attacked earlier that day and hadn't used it, adding: "He tries to justify that he had no knowledge of it and that it was not used in the earlier incident."

She claimed he was remorseful, adding: "He didn't intend to cause that elderly lady distress."

The defendant, of Meath Street, Ayresome, admitted criminal damage and possessing a bladed article.

Suspending his 16-week sentence for 18 months, the district judge also imposed an eight-week curfew on Lawson - who must also pay PS150 compensation for the smashed window from his benefits.

And addressing the blade, she added: "I do wonder if it had been the right address, what would have happened."

CAPTION(S):

Robert Lawson, who appeared at Teesside Magistrates' Court accused of criminal damage

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Author:IAN JOHNSON ian.johnson@reachplc.com
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Dec 14, 2021
Words:400
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