Friend wanted to take the blame for an attack he tried to stop

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A MAN tried to take the blame for an attack on a woman which he had actually tried to stop.

Stephen Weldon told the victim, who suffered “serious injuries” in an attack at his home, to tell police he was responsible.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 33-year-old had tried to “take the rap” in a bid to protect the real attacker, who was an old friend.

The woman, who knew he was not to blame, changed her statement and named him as her attacker.

The court heard the woman, who was unclear about what exactly had happened to her, knew Weldon had tried to stop the attack on her and was not part of it.

Prosecutor Anne Richardson said: “She said she knew full well it was another man who assaulted her and this defendant was protecting her rather than assaulting her.

“It was a highly-unusual situation because by his act this defendant was putting himself more at risk, trying to protect the other man and taking the rap for himself.”

Weldon, of Aldwych Road, Sunderland, admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The truth was revealed when the case got to court.

Judge Jeremy Freedman told Weldon: “There you were, trying to protect your friend, who in fact had been responsible for the attack on this woman.

“You wanted to take the rap out of a sense of misguided loyalty.

“The result was the woman changed her statement and said it was you, not him. Putting pressure on a witness who as a complainant in criminal proceedings is a serious matter.”

The judge sentenced Weldon, who has spent time in custody on remand, to four months behind bars, suspended for 12 months, with supervision.

Mr Adams said Weldon had known the man he tried to protect since childhood.