South Shields attacker caught when hammer with his name on was found near crime scene

A couple's home came under attack by a stranger who made death threats and caused damage with a hammer that had his name on - and was left near the scene.
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Graeme Seales targeted the property in South Shields, in the early hours of the morning in November 2022 and warned "I'm going to kill you and your **** brother," while smashing a window. Newcastle Crown Court heard the people inside, who did not know Seales, were terrified. A chilling 999 call was played in court, which captured the frightened woman saying "I don't know who it is," while Seales shouted in the background. The victims were advised during the call to lock themselves in one room, with their backs against the door. Seales, who confessed he was "full of drink," eventually left and threw the hammer but it was traced back to him and had his name on.

Newcastle Crown Court. Photo: Google Maps.Newcastle Crown Court. Photo: Google Maps.
Newcastle Crown Court. Photo: Google Maps.

In a victim statement, the woman said: "I'm afraid for the safety of myself, my partner and my pets. I'm scared in case he comes back to inflict more violence. I believe he could come back and kill us." Her partner added: "The male was making threats to me and my brother. I was terrified in case he got inside the house." The court heard the damage cost South Tyneside Homes £460 to repair. Seales, 58, of Marigold Walk, South Shields, admitted criminal damage and a public order offence. Recorder Nathan Moxon told him: "The couple said they were terrified and that's clear form listening to the 999 call. You intended to cause fear of serious violence, you were making threats to kill and had a weapon. "You left the scene and disposed of a hammer with your name on it."

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Read South Tyneside's news on the go with our free email newsletters - bringing the headlines to your inbox. Catch up on the day's news and sport and enjoy even more from your Gazette. Visit our website here to find out more and sign up. Seales was sentenced to a 12 month community order with rehabilitation requirements, 200 hours unpaid work and a five year restraining order to protect the couple. Robin Patton, defending, said the case was "truly bizarre" and added: "He and drink do not mix well, it leads to trouble." Mr Patton said Seales had drank alcohol that night but his exact motives remain unclear. The court heard Seales no longer drinks. Mr Patton added that derogatory remarks made during the offence have not foundation and are "inexplicable".