Sunderland brothers face life for murder of popular dad George Dagg

George Dagg
George Dagg
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Two brothers are facing life behind bars after being convicted of the murder of a much loved dad.

George “Geordie” Dagg’s grieving family broke down in the public gallery as his killers Jess and Jack Ryan’s long criminal histories was revealed in court after the guilty verdicts.

Jurors who convicted the siblings over the murder of the dad-of-two were unaware the pair already had long criminal records when they carried out the senseless killing.

Jess Ryan, 25, of Toronto Road, Sunderland, who is caught on camera plunging a kitchen knife into his victim’s leg when he turned his back, has a record of 42 offences including violence, damage, drugs and carrying a knife.

Jack Ryan, 22, of nearby Toronto Square, who was his brother’s armed back up when he committed the murder, has 16 previous convictions which include biting off a man’s ear and an attempted rape.

The brothers will be sentenced on Monday and have been told they will each receive a life sentence.

Judge Paul Sloan QC will set the minimum term each has to serve.

The judge said: “There is only one sentence that can be imposed in respect of a conviction for murder and that is life imprisonment, which will be imposed in respect of each of these defendants.”

At the conclusion of the hearing prosecutor Nicholas Lumley QC paid tribute to Mr Dagg’s immediate family, including his two sons, for the “significant degree of dignity” they have shown while their father’s last moments were played out in public.

Mr Lumley said: “His sons speak of their lives being in turmoil and despair, their lives being on hold ever since this has happened.

“They are young men who are doing well for themselves and whose lives have been thrown into chaos.”

Newcastle Crown Court heard during the trial Mr Dagg, 53, was a “well known character” in his neighbourhood.

Before her collapsed to the ground after being stabbed, Mr Dagg told his killers “all you can do is use knives, you cowards”.

“Let’s do him”

The shocking confrontation was captured on cctv and shows Mr Dagg and his friend Anthony Taggart arguing with two hooded men who had turned up at his home in Purley Road in Sunderland, armed with knives.

It is claimed the brothers agreed “let’s do him” before the deadly blow.

Both men denied murder and told a serious of lies throughout the trial, which jurors unanimously rejected.

Jess Ryan initially refused to name the second hooded figure captured on film with him at the murder scene that night but later said his accomplice was a man named John Sumner – who has since died.

From the witness box he changed his case again and said his accomplice was a hardman he would only refer to as “Mr X” because of threats that had been made to his family.

Mr Lumley said trying to pin the blame on the late Mr Sumner was a “profoundly aggravating” feature of the case.

He said: “He was an innocent man and statements had to be taken from his parents and partner.

“They were shocked, to put it mildly, having been spoken to by the police.

“The reason for the police visit had to be explained to them and there was further grief in an already unhappy situation.”

The court heard during the trial how in the hours before the killing Mr Dagg had been having drinks at home with his friends, including Jess Ryan, who had been trying to impress the others by doing press-ups and was getting into arguments.

Before he left the house he “laid out” Mr Dagg with a single punch.

Killer recruited his brother for fatal visit

The court heard Ryan returned to the house a second time where there was a further confrontation but no violence between the two men.

Ryan had recruited his brother for the third, fatal visit to Mr Dagg’s home.

Mr Lumley said: “The two, who sit in the dock, returned to Geordie Dagg’s home and an argument resumed in the street, which Jess finished by stabbing Geordie Dagg in the leg as his back was turned.

“At that stage Geordie Dagg was an unarmed man, presenting no threat either to Jess Ryan or his brother, certainly none that required use of a lethal weapon such as a knife.

“He suffered catastrophic blood loss and never recovered.”

Footage of the attack showed both brothers had worn hooded tops as a “crude attempt to disguise themselves” and what happened drew attention to people in the street.

Mr Lumley said: “The Ryan brothers were both armed, each carried a kitchen knife, a lethal weapon down by their side or hidden up their sleeve or somewhere in their clothing to begin with.

“Geordie stood his ground, no doubt giving both young men a piece of his mind, no doubt trying to frighten them both off.

“The Ryans drew their knives, took them out from wherever they had been, so it was obvious to the others in the street that their weaons were there and available for use.

“As they got closer, both men said to each other ‘come on, lets do him’.”

The video shows a “stand off” between the alleged murderers with Mr Dagg and his friend Mr Taggart and Jess Ryan starts to lash out with his weapon.

Mr Lumley added; “After a little while, George Dagg decided to turn, putting his back on these two men, perhaps to go to the safety of his home, we will never know what he was thinking.

“As he was turned away and his back is to them, Jess Ryan seized that opportunity, in a flash, and moved towards George Dagg to stab him and he did so in the upper part of his leg.”

Mr Dagg managed to take a few steps towards his home before he slumped to the ground with massive blood loss.

He had emergency surgery at hospital but his life could not be saved and he died three days later.