South Shields man and brother jailed for 48 YEARS for attempted murder of woman blasted with shotgun

Two brothers who blasted a mum with a shotgun through her window as she prepared a cottage pie in her kitchen during a botched murder plot have been jailed for a total of 48 years.

By Karon Kelly
Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 4:03 pm

Emma Robinson was preparing food at her home in Westerhope, Newcastle, on October 3 2020, when she heard a loud bang, saw breaking glass and felt sudden pain.

Shocking pictures show the extent of the painful injuries she suffered.

Newcastle Crown Court heard she did not realise she had been the target of an intended killing and had shotgun pellets embedded in her body until she went to a walk-in centre the following day.

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Thomas Lee and James Lee.

Two days later, Jordan King was also shot at at his home, about a mile away in the same suburb.

Thomas Lee, 21, of no fixed address and James Lee, 27, of Henry Nelson Street, South Shields, carried out the shootings because they were "cross" as a result of previous arguments with the victims or their families.

They were both found guilty of attempting to wound Mr King with intent.

The injuries sustained by Emma Robinson in the attack.

James Lee had admitted an unrelated child cruelty charge and dangerous driving.

He was convicted of possessing ammunition when prohibited.

The cruelty offence related to him rubbing chocolate, which he claimed was faeces, onto a child's mouth.

Thomas Lee admitted possessing a firearm while prohibited and unrelated charges of assault on a special constable, racial harassment, assaulting a pc and possessing cannabis.

The weapons recovered by police.

In a victim statement, Ms Robinson said her physical injuries have healed but she has been left with scars which make her feel self conscious.

She said she now takes sleeping tablets and added: "The reason I have trouble sleeping is when I am alone at night I keep thinking about what could havehappened and how much worse my injuries could have been."

The court heard she no longer stands near or looks out of her windows and feels so nervous when she hears a loud bang that she has to stay in her home when there are fireworks.

She added: "I keep thinking to myself what would have happened to my children if my injuries had been any worse."

Judge Penny Moreland sentenced the siblings to 24 years each behind bars.

Thomas Lee was given an additional four year extended licence period "for the protection of the public" after being branded a dangerous offender.

The judge said the shooting had a "significant adverse impact" on Ms Robinson and told the men: "By their verdict, the jury indicated that they were sure youboth intended to kill her that night."

The court heard Ms Robinson had been in the kitchen of her one bedroom flat at around 10pm when she was targeted.

Prosecutor Simon Myerson QC told the court: "She was making cottage pie.

"She heard a loud noise which she said was simultaneously to a bang and the sound of breaking glass.

"She felt something hit the side of her face.

"There was glass everywhere. She turned around and she was hit in the back and she did not know what had happened."

The court heard she could see "lots of little black things" on the kitchen floor, which turned out to be pellets from a shotgun.

She went to Ponteland Walk-in Centre the next day for treatment to her injuries.

Mr Myerson said: "When she was there she was told these looked like shotgun wounds.

"At the time it simply shocked her but as the information sank in she realised how serious this was."

The court heard Ms Robinson had injuries from shotgun pellets and flying glass to her face, just above her right eye, her arm, back and behind her ear.

Mr Myerson said the brothers "planned to commit these offences together" and added: "Each of them were part of the plan to shoot Mrs Robinson and each of them knew that part of the plan was to fire at her with a gun.

"In the circumstances, it doesn't matter who pulled the trigger, each defendant is as guilty as the other."

Mr Myerson said it appeared Ms Robinson was shot because Thomas Lee and another man had been involved in an argument with her son.

The court heard Mr King did not make a witness statement about what happened to him but allowed the police to take photographs of his injuries.

Jason Pitter QC, defending, said Thomas Lee was of a young age at the time of the offences and has a "desire to desist from offending".

Toby Hedworth QC, defending said James Lee has no previous convictions for serious violence on his record.

After the case,

Detective Chief Inspector Jane Fairlamb, of Northumbria Police, said: “Both brothers hatched a complicated plan to carry out these two shootings, using various vehicles to disguise their movements with the aim of avoiding detection.

“Guns are not toys. They knowingly and willingly pulled the trigger in an attempt to kill a mum in her home, as well as injure a second man after a suspected falling out.

“Incidents involving firearms are thankfully rare in this region, but when they do occur, this case shows that Northumbria Police are committed to using every tactic at our disposal in order to secure effective justice and put the perpetrators behind bars.

“Thomas and James Lee have proven themselves to be a danger to society and I am pleased that the jury saw through their lies. The streets of Newcastle are certainly a safer place with them both behind bars.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in this significant investigation who have all played their part in bringing these offenders to justice.

“Under the banner of Operation Sentinel, we will continue to do everything we can to tackle and prevent serious and violent crime across Northumbria.”