Jail terms for South Tyneside couple who attacked and robbed foreign worker

A couple from South Tyneside have been jailed after posing as Good Samaritans to assault and rob a man in a foreign worker of his cash, passport and clothing.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 4:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th December 2018, 4:43 pm
Ian Main

Ian William Main, 30, of Durham Court, Hebburn, and his partner Toni Claire Woods, 37, of Elmfield Road, also Hebburn, were jailed for seven years and three years respectively for the robbery of a Swedish chef in Penrith, Cumbria.

Tim Evans, prosecuting, told Carlisle Crown Court that Main was high on alcohol and cocaine when he and Woods robbed the man at Penrith in June last year.

Toni Woods

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He said the duo initially posed as Good Samaritans - offered a lift to lone Swedish chef Peter Gustaffson.

Mr Evans said the victim was then dragged out of the car and assaulted before being robbed of his possessions - which included his wages, passport and clothing.

The couple were caught after Mr Gustaffson - who had been left injured by the attack - bravely managed to take a photo of the car's number plate as it drove off.

Woods admitted robbery, while Main was convicted after a trial.

Woods also admitted arson being reckless as to the endangerment of life.

The court heard the arson charge related to him torching his then flat in South Shields.

Mr Evans told the court the day time fire occurred at Main's flat in Broad Landing, South Shields, on April 28 this year.

He said Main was "under the influence and paranoid" when he was found by police at the end of South Shields pier looking over the River Tyne.

He said: "He was dressed only in underwear, and was threatening to jump into the river if anyone came near him.

"He was saying 'I've burnt my flat out. I've had 50 people after me'."

The court heard Main had started a fire in his bedroom, which was "completely destroyed".

It was concluded that the cost of property damage was "substantially more" than £5,000 and there was also damage to a communal area but no injuries.

Harriet Johnson, defending Main, said two psychiatric reports set out a "long history" of self-inflicted issues.

She said: "For over half his life he has been beset with problems with alcohol and drug abuse."

Of the fire, she said: "He is utterly relieved that no-one else was hurt."

Susan Hirst, for Woods, called the robbery "wholly out of character for her".

She said: "It is certainly behaviour which she deeply regrets. I submit her remorse for her behaviour is genuine."

Passing sentence, Judge Peter Davies spoke of a "targeted" and "nasty" Penrith robbery.

In a victim personal statement, Mr Gustaffson described its impact, saying: "It was a catastrophic situation which I had to go through. Homelessness, no identity and Sweden very far away."

He said the crime had affected him so much that "I gave up and moved back".