Father of murder accused in court over family feud

CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE ... David Ross wanted sister's partner to leave the house.
CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE ... David Ross wanted sister's partner to leave the house.

THE father of a man charged with the Mothers’ Day murder of his partner has appeared in court after an attack sparked by a family feud.

David Ross, whose son Anthony is remanded in custody awaiting trial after the death of partner Melissa Liddle at their home in Oak Avenue, South Shields, admitted assaulting his sister’s partner in a row over the ownership of a house.

He is a man of previous good character. He has had the stuffing knocked out of him, as his daughter-in-law was murdered recently.

Charlton Carr, defending

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard that the 48-year-old had lived at the home in Mill Grove, South Shields, with his mother and sister, Helen Ross.

But, after Mark Ridley began a relationship with Helen Ross and moved in, David Ross was asked to leave.

On June 17 of last year, Ross went to the home and pushed Mr Ridley down the driveway, demanding he leave.

Ross, of Oak Avenue, South Shields, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

He had previously denied the offence, only to change his plea on the day of trial.

Keith Laidlaw, prosecuting, said: “The complainant heard banging on the front door and could hear David Ross’s voice.

“David Ross pushed him down the driveway, shouting ‘get out’ and continued to tell Mr Ridley to leave.

Helen Ross, who was out of the house at the time, later called police.

Charlton Carr, defending, said problems escalated when Helen and David’s mother died.

Mr Carr said: “Mr Ross assisted his mother in buying the house in Mill Grove.

“He put his own money in but, unfortunately, was not prudent enough to put his own name on the mortgage. His sister’s name went on the mortgage.

“When their mother died, arguments began over what to do with the house. Helen Ross took up with a young man, Mr Ridley, who David Ross feels is living off her. This infuriated him.

“He felt Ridley had no business living there. If he had admitted the assault, he would have been given a police caution but he was of the opinion that this chap was in his house and he wanted him out.

“He ushered him down the drive. That’s the basis on which the charge is admitted.

“He is a man of previous good character. He has had the stuffing knocked out of him, as his daughter-in-law was murdered recently.

“He has pleaded guilty for pragmatic reasons – so he can get on with assisting his grandchildren.”

Paul Allen, chairman of the magistrates, gave Ross a six-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £15.

Twitter @shieldsgazchris