Three Sunderland men jailed for total of 23 years for aggravated burglary at woman's home armed with machete, knife and glass bottle

A Sunderland trio have been jailed for a total of 23 years after they burst into a Sunderland home while armed and smashed up the property.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 3:59 pm
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 2:06 pm

A court heard Brian McDonagh, 27, along with Scott Wilson, 30, and Ian MacLeod, 43, burst into the home in St Luke's Road in the early hours of January 1 last year.

Newcastle Crown Court heard McDonagh was also sentenced after he escaped police custody when he left an A&E unit to get some "fresh air".

McDonagh was taken to Southmead Hospital in Bristol while on remand in the area for the aggravated burglary committed in Sunderland.

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Brian McDonagh
Brian McDonagh

Stuart Graham, prosecuting, said McDonagh was arrested under warrant on July 6 and taken into custody where he made a phone call before telling officers he had been previously diagnosed with a blood clot on the brain and needed treatment.

He was taken to the A&E department of Southmead hospital, where Mr Graham said: "Ten minutes after, by chance, a male named Kevin arrived with a female who said she had a stomach ulcer."

McDonagh said Kevin was his cousin.

Mr Graham said the officers had removed the handcuffs while McDonagh underwent tests and "decided, for whatever reason, to keep the handcuffs off, allowing him to speak to his cousin."

Scott Wilson.

After a scan, McDonagh became physically unwell. Mr Graham said: "Officers took him outside for some fresh air at his request."

While outside a vehicle arrived and McDonagh told officers his family was inside. While the officers turned their attention to that car, he got into a silver BMW which then drove off. McDonagh was at large again until October 14 when he was arrested in Cleveland.

Outlining the aggravated burglary offence Mr Graham said that the female occupant heard a crashing noise in the living room and saw two bricks had been thrown through a window. She then heard a voice shouting for her partner, John Smart, to come outside.

About 45 minutes later two men, McDonagh and Wilson, burst through the front door and started "smashing things up" in the living room, McDonagh using a machete and Wilson a bottle. A third male, MacLeod, was in the hallway. The court heard he was in possession of a knife while in the house.

Ian MacLeod

As the woman was tidying up the next day she found "part of a human knuckle" on some glass in the house, which was forensically matched to Wilson.

The incident was caught on CCTV and the men were arrested over the next few days and appeared at court before McDonagh then absconded.

Jamie Adams, defending MacLeod, said: "The event was brought about for a tit for tat.

"Mr MacLeod for his part, was rather scooped up, carried out along with things."

He said MacLeod suffered a number of health issues including a rare blood condition and pneumonia and would therefore find custody extremely difficult as he requires regular treatment. He added that the father-of-four's family described him as gentle.

Joe Hedworth, defending McDonagh, said: "Brian McDonagh is a hard working family man who ordinarily doesn't drink and has never taken a drug in his life."

Mr Hedworth said that there was an alleged grievance between the parties and McDonagh decided to take matters into his own hands.

He added: "He is greatly ashamed of what he did that night.

"He is a man who will not trouble the courts again in the future."

He added that McDonagh's blood clot on his brain was a serious condition and he also suffered from a number of stomach ulcers.

Jennifer Coxon, defending Wilson, said: "He is someone who has had long term mental health difficulties since the age of 11."

She argued that the bottle contained liquid and Wilson did not appear to have the intention to use it as a weapon. Miss Coxon added that at the time of the offence, Wilson was not coping well and had turned to alcohol and drugs following the death of his fiancée.

All three men pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary with intention to cause criminal damage.

McDonagh also pleaded guilty to escaping from lawful custody and possession of an offensive weapon. Wilson pleaded guilty to being in breach of a suspended sentence imposed in May 2018 by committing this offence and MacLeod also pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon.

Judge Stephen Earl sentenced McDonagh, of Mortimer Street, Sunderland, to eight years, four months in prison and said the case was him.

Judge Earl addressed MacLeod and said: "I accept you are a man of good character.

"I accept that you have significant medical issues. But of course you knew that when you took part in the offending."

MacLeod, of Fordfield Road, Sunderland, was sentenced to six years, seven months imprisonment Wilson, of Palmerston Road, Sunderland, was sentenced to eight years, six months.