Killers, besotted stalkers and petrol pinchers - the names and faces of 27 criminals jailed in May

Two men were jailed for life for the callous murder of a man they shared their home with in Nelson this month. Also starting a stretch behind bars are a man who killed a man with a single punch in Blackpool, a depraved rapist and an obsessed stalker.

These are just some of the many cases to have passed through Lancashire's courts in May 2024. In some cases, lengthy trials have been held in front of juries, while in others the criminals have pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

But in all cases a judge has decided their crimes are so serious only a custodial sentence will suffice. An open, transparent criminal justice system is an important part of how our democracy works - so we make no apologies for devoting so much time to letting you know what happens in our courts.

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Burglar would target Blackpool businesses then force his way inside

A burglar has been jailed after police seized his vehicle and found more than £5,000 inside.

Martin Brown, from the north east, would target businesses across Blackpool, Fylde, and Wyre. Once he'd chosen his victim, the 60-year-old would force his way inside.

He then would take large quantities of cash. Preston Crown Court heard how following his arrest, a total of £5,300 was found inside his vehicle by police.

Brown has now been sentenced to three years and four months in prison.

FULL STORY: Burglar would target Blackpool businesses then force his way inside

Dad's single punch outside sports bar put ex-employee in hospital for months

A 'respected business owner' put a former employee in hospital for months after punching him outside a sports bar following a row.

John Woods lashed out at John Barton, in the head and left him unconscious on the ground following a 'forceful blow' to the head. A court heard how the 39-year-old dad felt "betrayed" by his victim after he went to work for his estranged brother.

Mr Barton, 37, had decided to gate-crash a party at the Champs pub in Ainsdale on the evening of February 24 last year. After being turfed out he was followed onto the street by a group of guests, including Woods - his ex-boss.

FULL STORY: Dad's single punch outside sports bar put ex-employee in hospital for months

Besotted stalker bombarded her neighbour with unwanted letters, cards and gifts

A stalker who told police she was 'in love with her neighbour' has been jailed for 12 months.

Sarah Stables, 39, bombarded the woman with hundreds of text messages, letters and gifts - and even sent Christmas presents to her home.

Between June 2022 and April 2023, the woman repeatedly told Stables her attention was unwanted. However the harassment continued leaving the woman feeling like she was 'a prisoner in her own home'.

FULL STORY: Besotted stalker bombarded her neighbour with unwanted letters, cards and gifts

Prolific petrol pincher who stole more than £4.2k of fuel finally runs out of gas

A relentless petrol pincher has been caged after filling his vehicle up with more than £4,200-worth of fuel - and then leaving forecourts without paying.

Jonathon Lawrence even used vans that had been specifically designed for the theft, with fuel tanks and containers fitted in the back. The 24-year-old's crime spree stretched across garages in Lancashire, Cheshire, West Yorkshire, and North Wales.

An investigation was launched by Lancashire Constabulary after Lawrence stole from businesses in Preston, Blackpool and Nelson in October, November, and December last year.

FULL STORY: Prolific petrol pincher who stole more than £4.2k of fuel finally runs out of gas

He downed Jack Daniel's then terrified children and families as he beat his dog in park

A brute swigged a bottle of Jack Daniel's before savagely hitting his dog in the face, leaving kids and families in the park horrified.

Kyle Vaughan reportedly threatened to "set his dog on children" after being confronted about his appalling actions. He then directed his aggression towards the police officers who arrived at the scene, punching one multiple times and trying to gouge the eyes of another.

A court heard how officers were called to Hesketh Park in Southport just before 3pm on April 28 due to the 27 year old's "aggressive behaviour". Witnesses claimed they saw Vaughan, from Leyland Road in the town, embroiled in a row with another dog walker, during which he allegedly yanked his own pooch Honey away and smacked it across the face three to four times.

FULL STORY: He downed Jack Daniel's then terrified children and families as he beat his dog in park

Burglars raided home as victims slept, but their 'suspicious' antics after taxi ride gave them away

Two burglars who raided a house as their victims slept were eventually caught after their 'suspicious' antics after a taxi ride gave them away.

Lancashire Constabulary were called to reports of a burglary on Williams Lane in Preston just before 3am on November 21 last year. It was reported that the occupants of the house had awoken to find the front door open and items including iPads and a laptop, as well as around £1,200 in cash, missing.

Police said shortly after the incident, two men were 'seen acting suspiciously' in the area have been seen in a nearby taxi. When officers stopped the vehicle, one man was detained.

FULL STORY: Burglars raided home as victims slept, but their 'suspicious' antics after taxi ride gave them away

Serial Booths shoplifter jailed after stealing £500 of goods from fancy supermarket

A shoplifter who repeatedly targeted a Booths supermarket has been jailed.

Paul Allen targeted the high-end grocery store on a string of occasions, stretching between January and March of this year. During that time he made off with around £500-worth of goods.

A court heard how the 48-year-old, of Meadowbank, Penwortham, targeted the branch based in the South Ribble town. He pleaded guilty at Magistrates Court on May 9.

FULL STORY: Serial Booths shoplifter jailed after stealing £500 of goods from fancy supermarket

Manipulative' paedophile caged for sickening crimes against three boys under 13

Joanne Evans
Martin Brown

A paedophile who sexually assaulted three young boys in East Lancashire has been given a sentence totalling 17 years.

In September 2020 Lancashire Police received information that Joanna Evans, who uses different male and female names and identities, had sexually assaulted three victims during or before 2020.

The youngest victim was just eight years old at the time he was sexually assaulted. All three were under the age of 13.

Evans, 40, last of Castle Street, Swansea, was arrested the following day and later charged with assault by penetration of a child and sexual assault by touching of a child.

FULL STORY: 'Manipulative' paedophile caged for sickening crimes against three boys under 13

'Travelling criminal' drove hundreds of miles to plunder Lancashire businesses for cash

A 'travelling criminal' who drove hundreds of miles to raid businesses in Lancashire for 'large quantities of cash' has been jailed.

Martin Brown targeted premises in Blackpool, Cleveleys and Kirkham after driving from the North East of England. The 60-year-old forced entry into the premises during the burglary spree before being identified by members of the Fylde Rural Task Force and Blackpool Neighbourhood Policing Team.

When officers seized Brown's car they recovered over £5,300 in cash. He was found guilty at Preston Crown Court for numerous commercial burglaries and sentenced to three years and four months in prison.

FULL STORY: 'Travelling criminal' drove hundreds of miles to plunder Lancashire businesses for cash

Rapist's seven vile words as victim pleaded with him to stop

A rapist told his victim 'it’ll be over in a few minutes' as she pleaded with him to stop His sickening attack.

The day after forcing himself upon her at a flat in Blackburn, Asim Hussain texted her to apologise for what he'd done. But then a court heard how he 'then concocted a web of lies in a bid to undermine the victim’s truthful account and distance himself from any wrongdoing'.

On February 2, 2020, Hussain attended the victim’s property. When she pleaded with him to stop, the 36-year-old said: “It’ll be over in a few minutes. I really like you. It’s OK.”

FULL STORY: Rapist's seven vile words as victim pleaded with him to stop

Dozy knifemen waltzed up to newsagent and demanded 'bag of cigs now' then made getaway in a taxi

Two men are starting lengthy prison sentences for carrying out a terrifying knifepoint robbery at a convenience store in Blackpool.

Lancashire Constabulary launched an investigation after cash and cigarettes were taken in the raid at One Stop, Dinmore Avenue, on January 25 this year. At 9.51pm, the shop assistant was tidying the store and getting ready to close, when he saw two men walk in.

One of them approached the counter and shouted, ‘bag of cigs now’, with the shop assistant thinking he was joking. However, the second man then pulled out a kitchen knife from his jacket.

FULL STORY: Dozy knifemen waltzed up to newsagent and demanded 'bag of cigs now' then made getaway in a taxi

Beloved son killed in sickening one-punch Blackpool assault just weeks after mum

Heartbroken tributes have been paid to a son killed in a horror one-punch assault in Blackpool.

Anthony Harley died in hospital a month after he was punched by Harry Fowle on Church Street, on February 19, 2023. The 53-year-old had approached a parked car, and informed the occupants they were unable to park in a taxi area.

Shortly after 8.30pm, he was approached by Harry Fowle who confronted him and punched him once.

Anthony fell and banged the back of his head. He would never recover from the injury and died in hospital on March 17.

Fowle, 34, of Brook Street, Blackpool, was originally arrested on suspicion of Section 18 wounding and was charged with manslaughter following Anthony Harley’s death. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in February and was sentenced at Preston Crown Court today ( May 21).

He was jailed for 1 year and 10 months.

FULL STORY: Beloved son killed in sickening one-punch Blackpool assault just weeks after mum

Dodgy prison officer smuggled contraband to Preston gunman behind Euro 2020 revenge shooting

Paul Mathieson
John Woods was sentenced to 14 months in prison

A Prison Officer who was caught trying to smuggle cannabis to a Preston gunman is facing time behind bars.

James Gregson, 21, has been jailed for two years and four months after admitting he conspired with Paul Matheson, 41, and Stuart Matheson, 47, to take cannabis and mobile phones into HMP Preston. Gregson also admitted converting criminal property.

The prison officer was arrested on November 8, 2022, after he was caught by prison staff attempting to smuggle cannabis and mobile phones into the prison for Matheson, who was jailed in October 2022 for his role in a revenge shooting in Ingol, Preston.

All three men appeared at Preston Crown Court on Thursday May 2. Paul Matheson, of Houldsworth Road, Preston, was jailed for a further 20 months. Stuart Matheson, of Ashfield, Preston, was jailed for nine months suspended for 12 months for his involvement.

FULL STORY: Dodgy prison officer smuggled contraband to Preston gunman behind Euro 2020 revenge shooting

Thug kneed pregnant girlfriend in face while she played with child on the floor

Photograph posed by model
Sarah Stables bombarded her neighbour with unwanted letters, cards and gifts

A controlling boyfriend subjected his pregnant partner to months of physical, verbal and emotional abuse, a court heard.

Staff at Royal Preston Hospital noticed injuries when she attended a 2020-week antenatal appointment and asked what had happened. The woman bravely disclosed that her partner, Liam Finlayson, had been abusing her for around seven months.

She was supported to make a police statement, in which she said her partner checked her phone and controlled the money in the relationship. He had thrown her phone at her, slapped her face, verbally abused her and called her names.

FULL STORY: Thug kneed pregnant girlfriend in face while she played with child on the floor

Rogue roofer ramped up costs and left trail of devastation across Lancashire

Homeowners were left with exposed roofs, overflowing gutters and damaged gardens after a rogue trader conned them out of more than £200,000.

Stewart Langton, 34, claimed to be a reputable tradesman but left a trail of devastation across Preston, Blackpool and Cheshire. Between 2022 and 2024, he used a number of business names to confuse customers as to who they were dealing with.

Customers were left suffering financial difficulties, anxiety and stress as a result of the damage he caused.

FULL STORY: Rogue roofer ramped up costs and left trail of devastation across Lancashire

'Cruel' hare hunter's audacious escape bid after farmer desperately tries to block him in

A 'cruel' hare hunter was eventually snared following an audacious escape bid after a farmer desperately rushed to block him in with some of his machinery.

George Miller, from Morecambe, travelled nearly 200 miles to farmland in Lincolnshire with co-defendant Lewis Sheridan. Police were alerted just before 10am on Friday, October 13 last year after the pair were seen walking across the arable land near Spalding with two dogs.

A court heard how they were using the hounds, a beige long dog and a black long dog, to chase and catch hares. Police said they had arrived earlier that day in a silver Skoda which left near to a farm in the area, close to the villages of Twenty and West Pinchbeck.

FULL STORY: 'Cruel' hare hunter's audacious escape bid after farmer desperately tries to block him in

Dad-of-three drawn into EncroChat drug gang 'out of loyalty to his brother'

A dad-of-three who became drawn into an EncroChat drugs gang 'out of loyalty to his brother' has been jailed for more than 10 years.

Mark Beeby's brother Stefon was previously jailed in 2022 along with other defendants from West Lancashire for more than 180 years after warrants were carried out as part of a joint operation between Merseyside and North Wales Serious and Organised Crime teams. A court heard yesterday (May 3) that Mark Beeby "became involved through his older brother" Stefon and travelled from his home in West Yorkshire to the drugs factory at Wood Farm in Sealand, Chester, on two occasions in April 2020.

FULL STORY: Dad-of-three drawn into EncroChat drug gang 'out of loyalty to his brother'

'I met a man in a shop near our home... then he kept buying my son gifts'

A mum says she and her son were left prisoners in their own home after a 'monster' stole her son's childhood and threatened them in their own home. Dale Barker, 33, has been jailed for six years and nine months after he admitted sexually assaulting a child and possession of a knife.

But as Barker, of Cotton Tree Lane, Colne, begins his prison sentence, the mum and son are left trying to rebuild their lives which they say have been completely destroyed by their abuser. Barker befriended the mum when they met in a shop where he was working, but after a few weeks the woman noticed 'strange behaviour'.

"He kept buying gifts and things for my son and being overly pally", she said.

FULL STORY: 'I met a man in a shop near our home... then he kept buying my son gifts'

Summer holiday hell as 'dangerous' pervert kidnaps and sexually abuses boy, 12

A mugshot of James William
Jonathon Lawrence

A vile pervert kidnapped a boy, pulled his shirt out of his trousers 'with the intention of him becoming naked', then sexually assaulted him.

Convicted child rapist James William had recently been released from jail when he approached the 12-year-old during the summer holidays in August 2022. The 34-year-old, who is originally from Lancashire, offered his victim £20 to show him around Carlisle, in Cumbria.

He then plied the youngster vodka and Red Bull, which had been mixed together in a bottle. He then isolated the victim from a friend and walked him down a path, reports the Mirror.

FULL STORY: Summer holiday hell as 'dangerous' pervert kidnaps and sexually abuses boy, 12

'Immature' driver jailed for collision which killed loving dad on country road

Jonathon Lyle
Kyle Vaughan has been jailed for a year

An 'immature driver' caused the death of a man on a country road that he was treating 'like a race track', a court heard.

Jonathan Lyle, 23, was driving a Seat Leon on Whins Lane, Simonstone, in excess of the speed limit, on the afternoon of 20th April 2022. He collided with the back of a Land Rover Defender, driven by Nicholas Starkie, which was turning off Whins Lane.

The impact caused the Land Rover to turn on its side and the roof collided with a concrete post. Mr Starkie, 56, died at the scene.

FULL STORY: 'Immature' driver jailed for collision which killed loving dad on country road

Prisoner flung faeces and porridge into guard's face when he went to check on him

A prisoner hurled a bucket of faeces - mixed with porridge - into a guard's face when he went to check on him in his cell.

Daniel Kirby, 35, was doing time at HMP Garth, in Leyland, when he carried out the disgusting attack. Preston Crown Court heard that on July 24, 2021, Kirby was on the segregation wing and was to be observed in person each time he was checked.

Niamh Ingham, prosecuting, said that at 11.15am he became verbally abusive and aggressive towards an officer on duty. Around 45 minutes later, he blocked the observation panel in the door of his cell and pressed the cell bell.

Three officers went to the cell, but Kirby was unresponsive so they opened the cell door. As they did, Kirby threw the bucket of faeces, mixed with porridge towards the officers. Liquid went into one of the officers' face and over his clothing.

FULL STORY: Prisoner flung faeces and porridge into guard's face when he went to check on him

Wannabe drill rapper launched merciless wrench attack on two innocent women

Dilnawaz Hussain
L-R: Liam Jackson and Lee Collier

A wannabe drill rapper launched a savage attack on two women who were enjoying a get-together in a backyard in Colne.

Dilnawaz Hussain, 28, worked himself up into a 'boiling rage' before setting upon the women with a monkey wrench in August last year.

Preston Crown Court heard the defendant has been arrested after he stabbed a wheelie bin with a knife in an alleyway that ran behind the houses in Duke Street in July 2024. One resident provided CCTV footage to support the police in their investigation.

In the weeks that followed, Hussain became 'obsessed' with the woman. He recorded TikTok videos of misogynistic raps, speaking about 'snitches' and 'racist b****es', and gave details of the woman's name, home address and postcode - encouraging others to attack her.

On August 9 he sent a message saying: "Something needs to be done about this Duke Street situation immediately before I go to prison." Two days later he messaged: "I need (the witness) done in on Duke Street. IDC about damage. IDC about ps."

Two hours after sending the message on the evening of August 11, the witness was having a get-together with two of her aunties in the backyard of her home. At around 10:30pm, Hussain forced his way through the locked gate, wearing a balaclava and carrying a heavy monkey wrench.

He struck one of the aunts, knocking her to the ground, then kicked her while she was there. He then turned to the other aunt and kicked her.

FULL STORY: Wannabe drill rapper launched merciless wrench attack on two innocent women

Men jailed for life for 'brutal and cowardly' murder on man in his own home

Laimonas Prascevicius
Paul Allen
Rimantas Vystartas
Joanne Evans -Credit:Lancs Police

Two men have been jailed for life for the murder of their housemate in Nelson.

Andrej Minin, 53, was beaten so badly he suffered a brain injury which itself could have proved fatal. He was also stamped on so hard his neck broke. He was killed in the attack on November 5, 2023.

Following a trial at Preston Crown Court, Laimonas Prascevicius, 54, and Rimantas Vystartas, 54, were found guilty of murder. The men claimed Andrej fell down the stairs, but blood marks on the floor showed he had been dragged to the foot of the stairs in the course of the attack.

FULL STORY: Men jailed for life for 'brutal and cowardly' murder on man in his own home

Hero doormen took down drunk who had armed himself with three kitchen knives

The incident happened outside the Wyre Light pub
Martin Brown

A judge commended the bravery of two pub doormen who tackled a drunk who lunged at them while carrying three kitchen knives.

Robert Ramshaw, 52, had fallen out with his ex at the Wyre Light pub in Fleetwood on September 4, 2022.

Preston Crown Court heard he went home and armed himself with three large kitchen knives before returning to the pub on London Street. The doormen told everyone who was milling around outside to go inside the pub for safety.

When asked why he was carrying the knives, Ramshaw replied: "Do you want f***ing cutting?".

He handed Ramshaw a sentence of two years each count of possession of a bladed article, 15 months for affray and a month for possession of cocaine - each to run consecutively, totalling two years.

FULL STORY: Hero doormen took down drunk who had armed himself with three kitchen knives