Sunderland man punched and headbutted officers in spree of offending

A serial criminal who went on a spree of offending including launching an assault on a stranger has been jailed.

By Alex Storey
Monday, 20th June 2022, 6:37 pm

Darren Rowe, who has 66 convictions, struck the man at a petrol station which caused permanent scarring to his face.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that Rowe then assaulted two police officers and stole from an address.

Referring to the first offence, prosecutor Michael Bunch said: "The victim of the offence was travelling to Washington with his partner to visit a friend with her.

Darren Rowe has been dealt with in court.

"That attack occurred at a petrol station. As he walked away from the shop he was approached at the side and the defendant threw a punch at him.

"The defendant then squared up with a female before being ushered away by a second female."

The victim, who said he now suffers PTSD since the attack, received 24 stitches to his face for a deep laceration to his cheek.

The court heard that after having learned the defendant was responsible, the man recalled an altercation with him prior to the attack after Rowe asked if he could buy some drugs.

On July 29 of last year, Rowe was spotted by officers in Sunderland city centre and initially ran away from them.

The court heard that as police spoke to him, the defendant was seen to remove a pill and place it in his mouth.

A struggle ensued to ensure he didn't swallow it but in the process Rowe headbutted one officer and punched the other.

At the time, he was wearing a knee brace and was taken to hospital following the altercation where he was given a wheelchair

However, as officers became distracted with another matter, he made off from the building but was detained a short distance away.

Then in the early hours of May 4 this year, Rowe struck again at an address in Sunderland.

Mr Bunch said: "The complainant's Ford Transit van including a number of work tools were missing. The keys of which had been taken in the burglary.

"Later that same morning police were called to a report of a male collapsed in a garden. His condition worsened and an ambulance attended.

"That man was this defendant. Items close to him had come from the stolen van."

Rowe, of Rothwell Road, Redhouse in Sunderland, pleaded guilty to wounding, two counts of assaulting an emergency worker, escaping police custody, and handling stolen goods.

Referring to the first assault, Lee Fish, defending, said: "There was a disagreement earlier in the evening.

"Nothing that happened can justify what the defendant then did and he has faced up to it by pleading guilty."

He added: "There's recently been a diagnosis of autism and he also suffers from ADHD."

Mr Fish told the court that his client had been undertaking an alcohol treatment programme and was beginning to feel the benefits of it before falling back into bad habits.

Mr Recorder Williams sentenced him to two years and six months behind bars.

The judge said: "You have been in custody since early May following the last of your three sets of offences.

"That followed from two earlier sets of offences and you were on bail for these when the May handling occurred."