Sunderland mum and son tackled two burglars who targeted their home while family was asleep

A brave mum and son tackled two burglars who targeted their home while the family was asleep.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 5:18 pm

The mum had been woken up by a loud bang on August 8 and ran downstairs to see the front door at her home, in Sunderland, had been smashed.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the woman, who has two adult children including one with special needs, saw a stranger sitting in her car outside.

The worried mum, who was then joined by her son, put up a brave fight to protect their property and keep raiders Mark Riddell and Kate Taylor at the scene.

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Mark Riddell and Kate Taylor.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court Riddell was trying to start the Volkswagen car when the female victim got outside and added: "She pulled her car door open and tried to get the keys out and he was trying to start the engine.

"Fearing he was going to drive the car away, she hit him in the face to distract him.

"She grabbed the keys from the engine and dragged him out onto the driveway, wrestling with him, trying to detain him.

"Her son came out of the house.

"Taylor was seen to move toward them and the son approached Taylor. She went to punch him in the face but missed.

"He punched her and she fell down. He took hold of Riddell.

"The mum took hold of Taylor, to prevent her getting away.

"Taylor started saying to her she was going to knock her out.

"She grabbed Taylor in a bear hug, however Taylor raised her fist and punched her in the face, causing soreness to the lip and jaw.

"Police arrived and detained them both."

The court heard over £1,500 damage was caused to the front door, floor and driveway.

The mum said in a victim statement: "To think these people have entered by damaging my property is an invasion of my family home, where we should feel safe and I should be able to keep my family safe, especially my daughter, who is extremely vulnerable.

"Luckily, she slept through all this but if she had witnessed it she would never have got over it."

Riddell, 40, of no fixed address, admitted burglary as well as two charges of attempted burglary of houses and theft from a car in the same street on the same night.

He admitted attempted burglary, taking without consent and theft in relation to similar offences in June.

Riddell asked for 13 similar offences to be taken into consideration.

Taylor, 33, formally of Collingwood Street, Sunderland, admitted burglary, two charges of attempted burglary and two of vehicle interference in relation to what happened in the same street on the same night.

Jamie Adams, defending, said Riddell has written an apology letter to his victims and has suffered tragedies in the past that have left him with mental health difficulties.

John Crawford, defending Taylor, said: "It was out of character for her and she is truly, truly ashamed."

The court heard Taylor herself also suffers from mental health difficulties and has suffered a troubled past.

Judge Robert Spragg sentenced Riddell to four years and four months.

The judge told him: "The probation service say they are concerned about you.

"I have read and taken into account three letters from you. You express your remorse.

"You're entitled to full credit for your pleas which were entered in the magistrates court, but clearly these offences are so serious that only immediate custody is appropriate."

However, the judge told Taylor he was satisfied he could suspend her term of imprisonment.

He said: "You met Riddell a couple of weeks before this. You had taken him in as he was homeless, you were unaware of his background.

"I'm satisfied there is no prospect you would have committed these offences on your own. You express shame and remorse to the probation service."

The judge sentenced Taylor to 18 months suspended for two years, with 30 days rehabilitation requirements.

She must also abide by a six month electronic curfew between 8pm and 6am.