Sunderland garage boss put customer in hospital with chemical ‘prank’

Kevin Burlinson
Kevin Burlinson
Have your say

A respected garage boss put a customer in hospital when he added chemical cleaning fluid to a bottle of drinking water as a “prank”.

Kevin Burlinson decided to play a trick on former work pal Alan Dobinson, who had taken his car into KB Tyres in Sunderland for an oil change.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 53-year-old mechanic, who runs the company, added chemical tyre cleaner to a bottle of flavoured water he saw in Mr Dobinson’s car.

When Mr Dobinson collected the vehicle, he took a drink from the contaminated bottle and suffered a burning sensation in his mouth and throat that left him hospitalised.

The court heard the symptoms rectified themselves after three hours.

A judge said the prank was an “act of gross stupidity”.

It is a personal shame for you that at 53 you find yourself in the dock of a criminal court.

Judge Robin Mairs

Burlinson, of Cardiff Square, Hylton Castle, Sunderland, was initially charged with administering poison or noxious substance with intent.

The offence, which can be punishable by imprisonment, was dropped when Burlinson, who has never been in trouble before, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of common assault by beating.

Judge Robin Mairs sentenced Burlinson to a conditional discharge for 12 months with a £100 compensation order.

The judge told him: “It is a personal shame for you that at 53 you find yourself in the dock of a criminal court.

“You are a man of good character, a decent, hard working man.

“You played a prank, or what you thought would be a prank. of putting cleaner into a water bottle of a friend.

“I am satisfied you had no intention to cause him any serious harm.

“It was an act of gross stupidity.”

The judge said he accepted Burlinson is genuinely sorry for what he did that day.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court Mr Dobinson had left his car overnight at Burlinson’s garage.

Mr Wardlaw said: “While the vehicle was left there, the defendant placed chemical tyre cleaner into a bottle of flavoured water in the vehicle.

“The next day, Mr Burlinson picked the vehicle up.

“He drank some of it and got a burning sensation and discomfort in his mouth and throat.”

Burlinson told police in interview he was “ashamed and shocked” at what happened and said he was genuinely sorry.