Despite the COVID-19 pandemic courts are continuing to function in the UK – including here in North Staffordshire and South Cheshire.
Rapists, thugs and paedophiles are among those who have been sent to prison by courts in Stoke-on-Trent and surrounding areas over the course of the last few weeks.
StokeonTrentLive journalists attend courts across the region every day to cover cases.
We’ve published the following stories in March 2020.
Click the full story option below each to read more about the case.
For the latest cases to appear before judges and magistrates across the region and beyond, check our dedicated court page for the very latest news from the courts.
Thugs David Bailey and Ashley Roberts have been jailed after telling a gay couple they would ‘burn in hell’ during a violent homophobic attack in Manchester city centre.
Bailey, aged 18, and Roberts, aged 19, started to abuse the couple near Manchester Piccadilly train station after noticing they were holding hands in the early hours of August 3.
Manchester Crown Court heard the pair punched and kicked the couple and told them ‘you will burn in hell’ and ‘its disgusting’ during the vile incident.
They initially approached the men and one defendant said ‘give me £20 or I will kill you’. They then attacked both men.
A man has been jailed after a huge £180,000 cannabis factory was uncovered inside a house.
Police carried out a drugs bust on an address in Cross Street, Alsager, last month.
More than 200 plants of different stages of growth were spread across the first floor and loft of the property.
A number of lamps and fans were also uncovered during the raid on February 21.
Reveller Lee Lovatt has been jailed after he broke a man’s cheekbone in a town centre bar.
The 33-year-old punched his victim several times inside Reflex, Newcastle, on the evening of February 23 last year.
The man, a Romanian who was drinking with his friend, was struck as he was walking to go for a cigarette.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard he was left with a fractured cheekbone and eye socket.
Now Lovatt has been jailed for 14 months.
Drug user Aidan McDarby carried out two burglaries within a few days to fund his habit.
The 40-year-old used a spade to smash his way into a house in Stoke which helps people with drink and drug problems.
And a few days later he broke into a Biddulph home and stole items including bank cards which he went on to use at various locations in the town.
And he cleaned the property with bleach as he tried to avoid detection.
A 54-year-old man has been jailed after pleading guilty to eight counts of raping a boy under the age of 18.
Gary Street targeted the victim several times over a number of years after encouraging the youngster to visit him at his home on Mill Street, Congleton.
The paedophile made a threats against the youth and his family to ensure that he kept visiting his home after the attacks had begun – with the offences coming to an end when Congleton moved out of the area in October 2011.
On Friday (March 13), Street was jailed for 12 years and nine months after being sentenced at Chester Crown Court.
A thug who left his victim lying in a pool of blood in an ‘abhorrent’ topless street attack has now been jailed.
After witnessing two women embroiled in an altercation outside a house, Danny Stockton, from Crewe, confronted a nearby man, also from the town.
The 45-year-old sustained head and facial injuries as a result of the attack, which took place in Maplins Moss Place, Wilmslow shortly before 10pm on July 13 last year, before fleeing into a nearby house.
It was at this point, Stockton, who was topless, began approaching another man from Crewe in an aggressive manner.
Dad-of-four Robert Tarrant has been jailed after he was caught driving while disqualified – for the 23rd time.
The 37-year-old was stopped by police in Cobridge while driving a Renault Megane, which he had recently bought despite his ban.
Tarrant – who has never passed a driving test – told police he needed to drive to work because his brother-in-law, who normally gave him a lift, had broken his leg.
Now he has been jailed for 18 weeks for what magistrates described as a ‘blatant disregard’ of his driving ban.
Burglar Leona Meredith was caught red-handed after she smashed her way into a house while a family were asleep.
The 42-year-old stole a £125 watch from the Etruria property after breaking in at 4am.
But the noise woke a neighbour who called the police and the defendant was caught in an adjoining back yard.
Now Meredith has been jailed for 15 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
Drug-dealing grandad-of-five David Benbow has been jailed – after operating a heroin delivery service from his van.
The 57-year-old turned to dealing after using inheritance money to buy heroin.
But he was busted just three weeks later when police saw him carry out two separate deals and he was arrested in Kidsgrove.
Now Benbow – who has two previous convictions for drug dealing – has been jailed for 2,045 days at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
A paedophile with a history of sexual offences travelled from his home in Stoke-on-Trent – to meet the 12-year-old girl ‘of his dreams’ for sex.
David Jones sent ‘filthy’ sexual messages over Skype and eventually arranged to meet up with her in Derby.
But when the 55-year-old arrived at Derby railway station he was arrested by police.
It transpired that the 12-year-old girl was actually an undercover police officer posing as the girl onlin
Drug-dealer Mark Holland drove at police officers in a desperate attempt to evade arrest – after driving down a dead end.
The two officers jumped out of the way of the vehicle after it was reversed towards them.
But the 40-year-old was arrested when he crashed into a fence – and was found with 395 wraps of class A drugs.
Now Holland has been jailed for three-and-a-half years at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
Drug dealer Aaron Gordon has been jailed after police caught him with more than £1,000 worth of cannabis.
The 30-year-old was a passenger in a Peugeot 306 which police followed as it drove around Bucknall.
They observed a man pull up to the car and put something into the vehicle before riding off on a bike.
They stopped the car as it headed towards Werrington and the defendant admitted he had four bags of cannabis in his jacket.
Twisted paedophile Antony Busfield created a perverted sexual environment where he would groom and assault young children at his farm.
The 83-year-old has been jailed for 17 years after he committed a catalogue of horrific offences against schoolboys including rape.
The predator admitted 19 sexual offences against children after he became lonely following the death of his wife.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard he corrupted his victims by showing them pornographic videos and images.
Student Abdulrahman Hereka has been jailed after being caught dealing class A drugs.
The Keele University undergraduate was seen selling drugs on a Stoke canal towpath – and then assaulted a police officer as he tried to evade arrest.
But the 19-year-old was eventually handcuffed and found with 14 wraps of crack cocaine and 15 wraps of heroin.
Now Hereka has been jailed for two-and-a-half years at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
‘Disgraceful’ Liam Terry has been jailed after he deliberately coughed and spat at police as he was arrested.
The 31-year-old was being detained for being drunk and disorderly when he became abusive.
After shouting insults, he then covered the officers in spit and repeatedly coughed in their faces.
Two conmen have been jailed after they ripped off two pensioners by claiming to be selling cleaning products for charity.
Christopher Waldram, aged 39, and Lee Walker, aged 38, travelled to Newcastle to prey on the elderly and vulnerable.
They said they were selling cleaning products to raise money for an epilepsy charity but fleeced them both of all their cash. And Waldram was given one victim’s bank card and pin number which he used to withdraw more funds.
A rapist and his twisted friend have been jailed following a sickening sex attack at a North Staffordshire hotel.
Alexander Browalski and Olgun Ramazan can today be unmasked as the two men who preyed on a ‘paralytically drunk woman’ on a night out.
The pair had taken their victim back to Lymedale Suites, in Lymedale Suites, Newcastle-under-Lyme , where Browalski forced himself on his victim.
They were arrested at the hotel where they lived on March 2019 following reports a 19-year-old woman had been raped at the Liverpool Road building the previous evening.
Pervert Dean Walmsley is back behind bars after he breached a court order – twice in a day.
The 29-year-old – who has previous convictions for sexual assault, exposure, making indecent images of children and stealing women’s underwear – was released from his last jail sentence four days before police visited his bail hostel and found he had bought a phone capable of accessing the internet.
And a few hours later they saw him in a shop where he again denied having a smart phone. But he was searched and one was recovered from his waistband.
Now Walmsley has been jailed for 12 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
A gang of armed men burst into a family’s home and threatened them with knives during a ‘terrifying’ robbery.
The group – who all had their faces covered with balaclavas or hoods – had gone to the terrace house looking for a member of the family who lived there.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard their intended target managed to run away from the scene.
But his mum and dad were held at knifepoint while the gang stole cash and property from them.
Now one of the gang members, John Quinn, has been locked up for his part in the robbery – after he was recognised by one of the victims when he failed to put his balaclava on in time.
Two criminals have been locked up following a ‘high-speed’ car chase through a busy town in pursuit of stolen drugs and cash.
A court heard it was ‘miraculous’ that no members of the public were killed or injured as driver Ryan Mercer, accompanied by passenger Scott Norris, pursued another vehicle in Stafford.
The chase ended when the Volvo driven by Mercer forced the other car, a Hyundai, off the road and into a wall.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Mercer and Norris had travelled to Stafford from their homes in Brighton to look for Ronald Holdway, who had taken a large quantity of cocaine and £27,000 in cash from Mercer.
A man has been jailed after police caught him in the street with £1,500 in cash and a quantity of monkey dust.
Morgan Bailey had been with Steven Dawkins when the pair were stopped and searched by officers in Greengate Street, Stafford, on May 29, 2018.
The cash was seized from the 22-year-old before 4.1g of the Class B drug was also discovered on Dawkins’ person.
Officers the conducted a search of Bailey’s Merrivale Road home in Rising Brook, where a further £770 cash was found with 64g of cannabis, scales and bags.
Yob Joseph Edge has been jailed after he spat at a police officer and racially abused another in a drunken rage.
The 30-year-old was warned on several occasions to leave Stoke town centre and go home due to his drunken and disorderly behaviour.
But he returned and was arrested for his aggressive behaviour.
However, when in custody he spat at an officer and racially abused another.
Knife-wielding masked robber Gareth Cristini threatened a couple in their own home and punched one of them in the face – before escaping with £240.
The 41-year-old had demanded cash after getting inside the Burslem property just days before Christmas.
It happened around two weeks after the defendant had burgled a house on Biddulph Road, Fegg Hayes.
Now Cristini has been jailed for nine years and two months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
Three drinkers have been jailed after punching and kicking two men in a pub attack.
Stephen Hollingworth, Michael Rawlingson and Wayne Stanley set about their victims at Yates, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and left one of them needing hospital treatment.
The violence erupted after one of the victims offered to give some children £1 – and told them not to spend it all on monkey dust.
Now all three have been jailed for 16 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court after admitting affray.
Pervert Luke Potter requested ‘very sexy’ pictures of teenage girls – after contacting them on a chatroom.
The 26-year-old was already subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order – imposed in 2014 – when he committed his latest crime.
And after being rumbled Potter told a probation officer ‘there was part of me that could not stop’.
Now Potter has been handed a two-year prison sentence at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court after admitting two court breaches.
Thief Dean Coppenhall has been locked up after he stole £4,800 of tools and equipment from a businessman’s vehicle.
The 35-year-old broke into the motor while it was parked on the victim’s driveway in Tunstall just before Christmas.
Magistrates at North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard the owner was forced to miss a business meeting in London because of the theft – which saw him lose a big contract and have to lay off a staff member.
Now Coppenhall has been jailed for 26 weeks after he admitted the crime – and asked for three similar offences to be taken into consideration.
Aggressive drunk Amjad Mahmood has been jailed after he struck a police officer on the chin and spat at him.
The 42-year-old threatened to ‘shank’ officers when they were dealing with a domestic incident at his home.
Officers became concerned when he got up to go to the kitchen and during a struggle the defendant struck an officer to his chin and spat at him.
Now Mahmood has been jailed for 28 days at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court after the judge said the message needs to go out that police are entitled to do their job without being assaulted.