Yobs carrying dog chain and knuckle duster fight in Sunderland park

Mowbray Park in Sunderland
Mowbray Park in Sunderland

A mother and her small children were left terrified as yobs armed with a dog chain and knuckle duster staged a fight in a Sunderland park.

The mum was in Mowbray Park with her daughters, aged six and 13, and another girl, also 13, Sunderland magistrates heard.

All children were in the park's play area, when the fight took place, at 4pm on Sunday, September 4, the court was told.

Prosecutor Laura Johnson said: "The witness was sitting on a bench in the park when she sees the defendants, Daren Kerr and Sean Ruffell, walking through the park.

"A third male shouts 'you with the sunglasses' then goes towards these two defendants."

Ms Johnson said the third male, who is being dealt with separately, had mistaken Ruffell for somebody else.

However she said Kerr then shouted: "Come on, let's have a fight."

"Mr Kerr and the third male then squared up to each other and began to throw a number of punches," Ms Johnson said.

"Mr Kerr produced a dog chain and started swinging it around in an aggressive manner.

"Mr Ruffell threw two punches at the third male, one missed and the other hit him on the head.

"The witness shouted 'there's kids around - grow up'."

The court heard the trio stated that they would go and fight elsewhere as there were "too many bairns around".

Ms Johnson said the witness then saw the third male on the ground with Ruffell alongside him.

Police then arrived and intervened. A knuckle duster was recovered from Ruffell.

Kerr was detained, having discarded the dog chain.

Ruffell, 25, told police he and the third male had been 'dancing' in a boxing stance.

"He was dancing around like Muhammad Ali," he said.

Kerr, also 25, said the pair had gone for a drink in a bar and had decided to change their clothing, when they saw the third male in the park.

He asked them if they wanted to go for a drink, to which they said no as the pub would be full of '****heads'.

Kerr said the male shouted abuse and he took the dog chain from around his neck.

Ms Johnson said: "He said he had the chain because had been walking his dog earlier, however there were protests in the area and that had made the dog nervous and it had ran off."

Kerr, of Gartland Road, Grindon, and Ruffell, of Athol Road, Hendon, both admitted possession of an offensive weapon and threatening unlawful violence.

Ruffell admitted the offence in relation to the knuckle duster and Kerr in relation to the dog chain.

Susan Gray, defending, said: "They had both been involved in an earlier incident, where a friend of theirs had been assaulted.

"They were in Mowbray Park when they were approached by the male, who was actually looking for a fight, and they responded.

"Mr Kerr had a dog lead with him

"Mr Ruffell had an ornamental knuckle duster. It had never been used as a weapon, it had been taken off the wall."

The bench asked for an all-options report to be prepared by the Probation Service, including the possibility of custody.

The pair will be sentenced at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court on March 24.