Killer son, jealous drunk and knifepoint robbers among criminals jailed in May

A man jailed for seven-and-a-half years after beating his mum to death was the most high-profile North Staffordshire court case in May.

Also caged during the month was a drink-and-drug-driver who left a pregnant woman with 'extensive injuries', a jealous drunk who strangled his partner and a drug dealer caught with cocaine hidden inside a Kinder Egg container.

Our reporters cover the latest proceedings at North Staffordshire Justice Centre, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, Stafford Crown Court and other courts when local people are in the dock. Here's a round-up of the cases where criminals have been sent to prison by courts in and around the area over the course of the month:

Sean Matthews

A pregnant woman needed an emergency C-section after a head-on-smash with a drink-and-drug-driver. Now Sean Matthews has been jailed following the horror smash which left the mum with 'extensive injuries'.

Emergency services had rushed to Burton's Horninglow Road North where the 36-year-old had swerved onto the wrong side of the road and ploughed into a car. Among the four occupants of that vehicle was a woman who was 36 weeks pregnant.

Staffordshire Police say she had suffered 'extensive injuries' which included a dislocated hip and deep cut to her knee. Because of the collision she had to undergo an emergency caesarean section 'in order to ensure the safe birth of the child'.

The defendant, of Burton, appeared at Stafford Crown Court on May 7 where he was handed a 34-month jail term.

Full story here.

Karim Noorani

Drink-driver Karim Noorani was jailed after he nipped out to buy dog food. The 53-year-old, who has three previous convictions for drink-driving, was seen driving erratically in Stone at 10.55am on January 16.

Prosecutor Hannah Baddeley told North Staffordshire Justice Centre: "Police were driving behind the defendant. He was straddling both lanes at slow speed in a national speed limit area. He stopped short at the roundabout and almost caused an accident." Noorani, of Stafford Road, Aston by Stone, Stone, pleaded guilty to drink-driving.

Magistrates jailed Noorani for 12 weeks describing him as 'a prolific offender with a plethora of driving offences'. He was banned from driving for 52 months, which will be extended by six weeks to account for the time he will serve in prison.

Full story here.

Nathan Henshall

A crime kingpin from Stoke-on-Trent who organised a network of couriers to deliver drugs across the UK from his prison cell was locked up for an extra seven years. Nathan Henshall, 33, formerly of Bentilee, used a secret mobile phone to 'control' his runner Steven Howells and make him do his bidding on the outside world.

Stafford Crown Court heard the phone was discovered in December 2020 and revealed that Henshall had continued to direct Howells from behind bars. Howells, 39, from Fenton, was stopped by police as he travelled northbound on the M6 in Staffordshire having made a return trip to Dorset in November 2020.

When officers searched the boot they found two ‘Christmas presents’ containing £8,000 to £10,000 worth of cannabis. A third package also wrapped in festive paper had around £65,000 in cash.

Full story here.

James Hopper

Homeless James Hopper was caught with a dagger and monkey dust - just a week after being released from prison. Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard the 33-year-old had 52 previous convictions for 108 offences, including two previous offences for possessing a blade.

It was on March 15 when police found Hopper with the dagger and two containers of monkey dust in Hanley. Now he has been jailed for six months.

Hopper told police he had only had the dagger for an hour - after exchanging it as part of a drugs deal. Hopper, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to possessing a knife in public and possessing a class B drug.

Full story here.

Callum Carew

A drink-driver showing off to his passenger killed an 'innocent' biker in a high-speed smash. Callum Carew was sentenced to nine years and four months in prison after admitting causing the death of Razvan Brumar by dangerous driving while over the drink-drive limit.

The 34-year-old, of Rochester Crescent, Crewe, reached speeds of up to 140mph on the 60mph single-carriageway Wheelock Bypass, between Crewe and Sandbach, late one Friday night. But he crashed into a scooter ridden by Razvan, the 29-year-old was catapulted through the air, and he later lost his life in Leighton Hospital.

Carew had wrongly complained to officers that Razvan’s bike had no lights and that he'd only had one pint. But Carew failed his breath test and was more than twice the drink-drive limit.

Full story here.

Adam Watkins

Drug dealer Adam Watkins.
Sean Matthews has been jailed

Dealer Adam Watkins ran the 'Bam Bam' drugs line in Stoke-on-Trent - and now he's been jailed. The 20-year-old sent out messages advertising cocaine and heroin for sale and was also involved in the supply of cannabis.

But police arrested Watkins at his then Fenton home and seized two phones - with one containing incriminating messages. A search of his home found large amounts of cannabis and cocaine as well as £1,900.

Now Watkins has been locked up for two-and-a-half years at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

Full story here.

Samuel Austin

Dusthead Samuel Austin was jailed for 10 years. The 28-year-old was sentenced after committing a catalogue of crimes including robbing and battering a man, in Wade Street, Burslem; stabbing a man in a pre-arranged fight outside The Co-op, in Keelings Road, Northwood; dealing monkey dust; and breaking into a garage, on Ford Green Road, in Norton.

Austin, of St Nicholas Avenue, Norton, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of monkey dust; burglary; possessing an offensive weapon, affray; inflicting grievous bodily harm; and robbery. Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard the dad-of-three had wanted to join the Parachute Regiment.

But he was involved in a car accident and broke his legs a week before he was due to start his training. Paul Cliff, mitigating, said: "He began to use monkey dust. It had awful consequences for his mental health and his life became increasingly chaotic."

Full story here.

Finn Henry

Finn Henry
Karim Noorani, aged 53, admitted drink-driving.

Killer Finn Henry was jailed for seven-and-a-half years after beating his mum to death. Suzanne Henry lost her fight for life at the Royal Stoke University Hospital two days after being found with head and facial injuries at the family's home, on Newcastle Road, in Madeley.

Staffordshire Police launched a murder investigation following the 54-year-old's death. But Henry was high on drugs, initially unfit to be quizzed by police, and later admitted a charge of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The 21-year-old was sentenced at Northampton Crown Court. His 11-and-a-half year extended sentence means he will be subject to a four-year licence following his prison release. Police had been called to the crime scene at 9.46pm on May 1 last year after a neighbour raised the alarm.

Full story here.

Russell Thompson

Jealous drunk Russell Thompson strangled his partner after breaking into her home in the early hours of the morning. The 31-year-old was angry when he entered her home and called her a 'slag' and a 'slut'.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard she sought refuge in the bathroom but he kicked his way inside and carried out a frenzied attack, kicking and punching her. He placed his hands on her neck and squeezed, leaving her struggling to breathe and fearing she was going to die.

She managed to go to a friend's house but he followed and the attack continued with him 'dragging his victim around like a doll' before laughing. And when he heard police sirens he told his victim not to 'get him nicked' as he loved her. Now Thompson has been jailed for 12 months.

Full story here.

Mark Groombridge

Drug dealer Mark Groombridge was caught with cocaine that he'd hidden inside a Kinder Egg container. Now the 38-year-old - who detectives have branded a 'serial offender' - has been jailed.

The defendant had been driving a van on High Street in Uttoxeter back in November, 2022, when he was stopped by officers with Staffordshire Police's major and organised crime team. Cops initially discovered a mobile phone and £705 in cash.

On being taken to custody, cocaine was discovered inside a Kinder Egg Surprise container. Officers then carried out a search of a property in the town where they found £390 in cash, cocaine, and 'drugs paraphernalia'.

During a hearing at Stafford Crown Court, Groombridge was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Full story here.

Luke Richardson and James Abbotts

Two men were jailed for a total of six-and-a-half years after subjecting a taxi driver to a terrifying knifepoint robbery. Luke Richardson, aged 29, and James Abbotts, aged 32, carried out the mugging after ordering the cabbie to take them to various locations as they hunted for a missing bag containing phones, drugs and cash.

But Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard they became aggressive and Richardson pulled out a knife and tapped the driver on his shoulder and demanded he hand over cash. The victim handed over £180 from his centre console and was so affected by his ordeal he had a month off work.

Now Richardson has been jailed for three-and-a-half years and Abbotts was locked up for three years. Prosecutor Annabel Hale said the victim collected both defendants from an address in Middleport at 6.05am on June 20 last year.

Full story here.

Christopher Rawlings, Nigel Dunn, Nathan Thomas and Richard Wharton

Nathan Henshall, 33, formerly of Bentilee, used a secret mobile phone to 'control' his runner
Nathan Henshall, 33, formerly of Bentilee, used a secret mobile phone to 'control' his runner

Four men who attacked each other with weapons in broad daylight during a vicious street fight were jailed for a combined total of almost seven years. The brawl unfolded when Christopher Rawlings and Nigel Dunn, both 45, were on Davenport Avenue, in Crewe, at around 6.30pm on Sunday, August 13.

The pair came together with Nathan Thomas, 36, and Richard Wharton, 44, and a fight broke out within the group. CCTV showed the men all assaulting each other with weapons before separating and fleeing on foot in different directions. Two knives and a metal bar were located at the scene of the incident.

Rawlings suffered a deep laceration to the front and back of his head, requiring multiple stitches, and a puncture wound to his arm. He was placed in a medically induced coma in hospital. Dunn, who sustained a fractured collarbone and elbow, was located by officers as he received treatment from paramedics.

Full story here.

COURT AND CRIME NEWSLETTER: Sign up for email alerts direct to your inbox