Three men jailed following pursuit with police

23 Jul 2018 08:00 AM

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A gang of thugs who stole a car armed with knives and ammonia before crashing it following a pursuit with police have been jailed.

Jamie Bennett, Kevin Bennett and Dominic James are today behind bars after the violent attack in Byker earlier this year.

Newcastle Crown Court was told how the men went round to the home of an associate in a bid to steal a motorbike they thought was at the property.

They armed themselves with knives, a hammer and a bottle of ammonia and demanded to see the man.

His wife, who was home alone with their children, said he was not in but the men then returned armed with knives, a hammer and a bottle of ammonia.

One of the men kicked down the door and threatened to "squirt" and "chop" before the woman eventually called her husband.

He arrived at the address as a passenger in a Citreon C4 driven by the boyfriend of Jamie Bennett's girlfriend.

But the gang proceeded to attack the vehicle and spray ammonia in the eyes of the men who ran for their lives.

The gang then got into the vehicle and drove away from the house at high speeds before eventually being spotted by police.

Officers began to pursue the vehicle as it raced through busy residential areas and weaved in and out of traffic on the wrong-side of the road.

After just one minute fleeing police the vehicle hit a kerb and veered into the back of a Ford Focus in front.

The car was left so badly damaged that it was written off by insurers but all three men managed to escape the vehicle and fled on foot.

A foot chase ensued but the men were eventually arrested by police and later charged with aggravated vehicle taking and affray.

On Thursday (19/7) each of the offenders were sentenced to two-and-a-half years by a judge at Newcastle Crown Court.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Rob Thorpe, has welcomed the sentences and said somebody could have easily been killed.

He said: “These are dangerous men who armed themselves with weapons and ammonia before stealing a car from someone who considered them a friend.

“It must have been a terrifying ordeal for the victims who were in fear of their lives when the attack took place.

“These men then proceeded to drive at high speed across the Newcastle area and could easily have killed someone.

“They were driving on the wrong side of the road, weaving between traffic and eventually smashed into the back of another road user.

“On a different day they could have killed themselves and innocent members of the public.

“In my opinion these men are dangerous offenders and Northumbria is a safer place to live with them behind bars."

Jamie Bennett, 27, Kevin Bennett, 28, both of Losh Terrace, Walker and James, 28, of Midway, Walker, all pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking and affray. 

Kevin Bennett and Dominic James also admitted failing to provide a specimen.