Sunderland man spared jail after assaulting a shop worker and stealing booze while on suspended prison sentence

A chronic Sunderland alcoholic who assaulted a shop worker in a bid to steal booze – putting him in breach of a 16-week suspended prison term – has avoided being jailed.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 7:00 am

Kristopher McCully, 32, pushed the man when he and two accomplices were challenged at the Co-op’s store in The Broadway, Pennywell.

It was one of two thefts from Co-op stores over the next nine months by McCulley, of Plains Road, Plains Farm, a court heard.

By the time of the assault, on Thursday, November 21, 2019, he had already breached the prison order once.

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Kristopher McCully, 32.
Kristopher McCully, 32.

He did so by causing alarm to a taxi driver through his drunken antics in Halstead Square, Pennywell, on Saturday, August 17, 2019.

Prosecutor Becky Slade told magistrates in South Tyneside he also racially abused a policeman called to the same incident.

And she revealed other offences followed until August 27 last year when McCully ended his criminality.

Ms Slade said McCully returned to the same Co-op store on Monday, March 9, 2020, and stole a £21 bottle of vodka – despite being barred.

And at 1pm on Friday, August 7, he pinched a vodka bottle, priced at £20.50, from the Co-op in Springwell Road, Grindon.

During the same incident, he was followed out by the store’s team leader and when challenged, told him he may have “coronava” in a bizarre reference to Covid-19.

His last offence was on Thursday, August 27, when he was verbally abusive to police in Melbourne Place, Barnes Park, and was charged with being drunk and disorderly.

The court heard McCully had been jailed for 16 weeks, suspended for 12 months, on July 7, 2019, for previous offending.

He was also made subject to a community order, which he had breached.

Gerry Armstrong, defending, described McCully as a “chronic alcoholic” who was suffering two bleeds on his brain due to his drinking, leading to fits.

Mr Armstrong said his client had stopped drinking vodka but now drank eight cans of lager a day, starting at breakfast time.

But he insisted McCully had been told by his doctor not to fully attempt to quit drinking, due to potential adverse medical harm it could bring.

He added: “He has demonstrated a willingness to change.”

McCully pleaded guilty to two shop thefts, causing harassment, alarm or distress, racially aggravated alarm or distress, and being drunk and disorderly.

He also admitted failing to comply with the requirements of a community order, a common assault and an assault by beating.

Magistrates jailed him for eight weeks, suspended for 12 months, for the assault by beating.

They also jailed him for eight weeks for the common assault and one week each for the thefts and for causing harassment, alarm or distress, all to run concurrently.

There was no separate penalty for the drunk and disorderly, but he was fined £10 for causing racially aggravated alarm or distress.

Instead of having the suspended sentence order activated, he was fined £50, and he must also pay compensation of £50 to each of the Co-op staff he assaulted.

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