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Pensioner bit neighbour in crotch during dispute; long feud between families erupts into violence.

Byline: ROB KENNEDY Court Reporter @ChronicleCourt

A BITTER dispute between neighbours boiled over into violence during which an irate pensioner bit a man in the crotch and on the nose.

A court heard there had been a history of trouble between John and Deborah McCormick and next-door neighbours James Wilson and Clare Crichton.

Various allegations had been made by each against the other while they were living next to each other in Birtley, Gateshead.

The McCormicks said they had complained to the police and local council about difficulties they were experiencing but to no avail, and John McCormick finally snapped.

A court heard that Miss Crichton was walking past the neighbours' home when McCormick threw a hockey stick in her direction, which she picked up and went to tell Mr Wilson.

He then went to ask McCormick, 66, what was going on and there was a confrontation, during which Mr Wilson was injured.

Sam Faulks, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court: "John McCormick caused injuries sustained by Mr Wilson.

"He accepted hitting him across the forehead, biting his nose and biting his crotch area.

"The Crown say this was a sustained and repeated assault involving biting two areas and using a stick."

Mr Wilson was taken to hospital by ambulance and was found to have a 3cm laceration to his forehead and a deep 2cm laceration to the tip of his nose, consistent with having been bitten. He was referred for plastic surgery.

There were also superficial abrasions to his back, shin and foot and a soft tissue injury to his head.

Medics could find no obvious injury to his scrotum, Mr Faulks said.

Deborah McCormick, her sister, Susan Jackson and her partner, Andrew Jackson, also got involved in the fracas that ensued, the court heard.

Andrew Jackson accepted attending the McCormicks' home and, knowing an argument was taking place, becoming involved, grabbing Mr Wilson's arm and shouting at him.

Miss Crichton also attended and Deborah McCormick had a confrontation with her and ended up astride her and punching her.

Susan Jackson said she was aware of a history of difficulties with Mr Wilson and Miss Crichton and said her sister phoned her that day in August 2016 saying there had been further problems.

She said when she arrived there was a disturbance between the men and she accepted being verbally abusive and getting involved in "dragging and grabbing".

John McCormick, of Devon Crescent, Birtley, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and was sentenced to 18 months suspended for two years with 150 hours of unpaid work.

Deborah McCormick, 52, of Devon Crescent, Birtley, Andrew Jackson, 45 and Susan Jackson, 45, both of Chapel Row, Portobello, Birtley, all admitted affray and were sentenced to community orders with 100 hours of unpaid work each.

Recorder Stuart Brown told them: "It's not for me to determine, nor could I, the rights and wrongs of a dispute between you and the other family involved.

"I can, however, and do, take note of the fact you have for some period sought to, as it were, deal with matters without involving yourself in unlawful behaviour.

"On this occasion you, Mr McCormick, went way beyond what could properly be regarded as self-defence, inflicting what were serious injuries."

Andrew Rutter, for John McCormick, said: "He is a thoroughly decent man who is deeply contrite to appear before a criminal court at this time in his life.

"His behaviour was entirely out of character.

"As all citizens are encouraged to do, he sought the assistance of the police and the local council to deal with the difficulties.

"There is a history of call-outs by the police, instigated by this defendant in order to try to deal peaceably with the difficulties they were experiencing.

"Mr McCormick sought help from the police and Gateshead Council, but rather than that leading to stopping it, it intensified that over which he was complaining.

"He and his wife were subjected, in person and on social media, to sustained abuse, and it culminated in paedophilic graffiti being daubed on the front wall of their house.

"It would have taken the patience of Job to react impassively to further provocation."

Barristers for the other three made no representations about the facts of the case after it was indicated their clients would get community orders.


John McCormick

Deborah McCormick

Andrew Jackson

Susan Jackson
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 30, 2018
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