Fleetwood: From the courts 03-02-16

Blackpool Magistrates' Court
Blackpool Magistrates' Court

A pensioner was savagely mauled by a dog which was being walked on a lead in Fleetwood.

The 68-year-old woman’s arm muscles were severed, her tendons damaged, two fingers left not working and her skin was ripped off in the attack.

The dog was later destroyed at the request of the owner who said it had mixed with children and strangers and never been aggressive before.

Christine Ethell, 45, of Mount Street, Fleetwood, pleaded guilty to being the owner of a male Akita dog which was dangerously out of control and caused injury.

She was sentenced to a six weeks curfew from 7pm to 6am and ordered to pay her victim £600 compensation plus £60 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Presiding magistrate, Paul Farquhar, commented: “It’s a sad case on both sides.”

The court was told that on October 16 about 7.30pm Bernadette Kennedy was walking along the port’s Lord Street.

Jim Mowbray, prosecuting, said as she passed Ethell, who had her dog on a retractable lead, she remarked “What a beautiful dog” to which the defendant replied “thank you.”

The dog then twisted on its lead and bit the pensioner’s arm. The pensioner said she did not attempt to pet the dog.

In a victim’s impact statement the pensioner, described her injuries, and said she felt extremely emotional over what had happened, she had trouble sleeping and suffered nightmares.

Mitch Sarangi, defending, said his client, who had no previous convictions, had got the dog off a relative and had had him for about 12 months. Ethell said the dog had been round her children, grandchildren and strangers and had never shown any sign of aggression.

Ethell had been horrified when the dog attacked the pensioner.

She pulled the dog away and shouted for help to a couple who called an ambulance.

She had then taken the dog home and immediately contacted the police explaining what had happened.

Ethell was so mortified by the dog’s behaviour she asked police to take the dog and have him put down, which was done.

Since the incident she had sunk deeper into depression and had hardly left the house

• A schoolboy who failed to keep to his curfew said other people had pulled off the electronic tag which monitored he was keeping to the rules.

The 15-year-old, from Fleetwood, who can not be identified for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to breaching bail.

District Judge Jeff Brailsford sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court agreed to rebail him, telling him: “What I was told did not seem very impressive – that someone else took your tag off.

“You are at a crossroads, you must comply with your bail conditions.”

Pam Smith, prosecuting, said the boy had been bailed on the condition he kept a 9pm to 7am curfew while awaiting trial on offences of affray, possessing a blade and resisting arrest.

On January 30 the equipment monitoring his tag registered that the boy had broken his curfew.

An official called the boy’s address and was told by one of the boy’s relatives that he was not in and that he had pulled off his tag.

A visit to the boy’s home was then made by an official at 10.20pm that night and he was still not present. He was arrested the next day.

Patrick Nelligan, defending, said: “He went out in the afternoon and he says other people pulled off his tag. He has spent the night in the cells.”

• A Christmas present of a bottle of vodka given to a care worker was described to a court as the gift from Santa which went wrong.

Lynne Cahill drank some of the spirit on the anniversary of her mother’s death and was caught driving while more than three times over the limit the next day when some roofers demanded she pay them.

Cahill, 45, of Consett Avenue, Cleveleys, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol.

She was sentenced to do 40 hours unpaid work for the community, banned from the road for 24 months and ordered to pay £85 costs plus £60 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Presiding magistrate, Roy Gough, told her: “This could have been far worse.

“You or someone walking along could have been injured. It was extremely serious.”

Alex Mann, prosecuting, said Cahill was driving a Peugeot 206 on Northumberland Avenue, North Shore, on January 13 at 11.45am when she crashed into a house wall.

A breath test showed 105 microgrammes of alcohol in her body – 35 is the limit.

David Owen, defending, said his client, who had no previous convictions, had been given the bottle of vodka by the employer whose disabled boy she looked after.

It was the fourth anniversary of her mother’s death and knowing she had a couple of days holiday she drank some of the vodka with cola one night. The next day roofers came to mend her roof and later that day the workers woke her up, demanding she pay them in cash.

They were burly men, she felt intimidated by them, so she decided to drive and get the cash.

She had gone only about 50 yards when she crashed.

Cahill was extremely repentant about what she had done.

Probation officer, Lesley Whittaker, told the court that when interviewed Cahill had said she was disgusted and mortified at what she had done and added that she was never going to drink alcohol again.

• A couple were found with drugs when police stopped their car.

Nicola Harrison had cocaine and cannabis in her bra and Joshua Booth was found with the same drugs in the vehicle.

Harrison, 21, and Booth, 23, both of Norbreck Road, Cleveleys, each pleaded guilty to two offences of illegally possessing drugs.

Harrison was fined £40 with £85 costs and ordered to pay £20 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Booth was bailed to appear for sentence on March 2 at Preston Crown Court.

Alex Mann, prosecuting, said police stopped the couple’s car on September 30 2014.

Both defendants admitted having drugs.

Harrison said she was carrying the substances found on her for someone else.

The delay in the case had been caused because they had changed address and the police had lost track of them.

At time of the offence Booth was on a suspended youth custody sentence imposed for an offence of assault causing actual bodily harm.

Suzanne Mugford, defending, said the couple had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

Harrison had no previous convictions.

• A woman accused of animal cruelty has had her case mentioned at court.

Lucy Dudley, aged 39, of Gamble Road, Thornton, is alleged to have caused unnecessary suffering to a Jack Russell dog called Jack by failing to get proper veterinary care for his skin condition.

The prosecution has been brought by the RSPCA and the offence is alleged to have taken place between August 30 and September 20 last year.

Dudley was not present at court and her case was adjourned to February 17 by Blackpool magistrates.

• A fish merchants worker was seen kangarooing along a Fleetwood street in a transit van by police.

Ashley Stirzaker ran off when he spotted officers, but returned 10 minutes later and admitted he had been foolish for driving the van after drinking.

Stirzaker, 24, of Mowbray Road, Fleetwood, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol without insurance and not in accordance with his licence.

He was banned from the road for 17 months, fined £250 with £85 costs and ordered to pay £25 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Andrew Robinson, prosecuting, said police saw Stirzaker in a van on Walmsley Street on January 10 at 1.40am.

He was trying to reverse and the van was making a kangaroo motion.

A breath test showed 74 microgrammes of alcohol in his body – 35 is the limit.

Patrick Nelligan, defending, said his client had been off work for a time with a shoulder injury.

Not being able to work had led to him becoming depressed and he had foolishly become involved in driving the hired van after drinking.

• A man threatened to set fire to a Blackpool seafront hotel which contained almost 200 guests on Boxing Day.

Christopher Scott was not a guest at The Sheraton Hotel, but he arrived there in the early hours and also threatened to knife a night porter if the man did not give him a room key.

When police arrived Scott, who had drunk wine and liqueur at Christmas dinner hours earlier, clung to a fire extinguisher and later claimed officers tried to truss him like a turkey.

Scott, 42, of Beach Road, Cleveleys, who works for a Fleetwood fish distributors, pleaded guilty to threatening behaviour.

He was fined £340 with £85 costs and ordered to pay £34 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Presiding magistrate, David Cartain, told him: “I would have imagined the night porter would have been very frightened. Drink is a terrible thing and if people can’t take drink and behaved in a civil manner they end up in court.”

Prosecutor, Andrew Robinson, said on Boxing Day at 4am Scott entered The Sheraton Hotel, demanding his room key and told the night porter: “If you don’t give me that key I’ll knife you.”

Scott then said he was going to set a fire on the third floor where a number of families were sleeping.

Steven Townley, defending, said his client, who had no previous convictions, had been having Christmas dinner at his girlfriend’s round the corner from the hotel.

He had drunk wine and Sambucca, then he felt sick and went outside for some fresh air.

Mr Townley added: “He appears to have gone walkabout.

“He acted completely out of character.

“He said he had very little recollection of what happened. He was appalled and ashamed when told what he did.”

• A woman was arrested after being spotted with a kitchen knife in the resort’s Blackpool Road.

Sarah Hawkins, aged 25, of Cookson Road, Thornton, pleaded guilty to possessing a knife in public on December 2 last year.

Hawkins was bailed for pre-sentence reports by Blackpool magistrates.