Crack-addled teen attacked funeral mourner with a metal bar

JAILED ... Joe Corner attacked an innicent man with an iron bar.

JAILED … Joe Corner attacked an innocent man with an iron bar.

A TEENAGER who attacked a funeral mourner with a metal bar and then asked his mum and dad to “sort out the witnesses” has been jailed.

Joe Corner, 18, attacked his innocent victim, who had got lost after spending the day at a funeral, after asking him if he had been trying to steal his bike.

Corner, who was on crack cocaine, then used a steel bar to hit the man on the head three times, leaving the 20-year-old needing nine staples inserted to head wounds, which included a fractured skull.

The victim’s friend called for an ambulance after the attack – which happened in the Marigold Walk area of South Shields in March last year – and later identified Corner in a police line-up.

But Susanne Hurst, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court: “When the assault was listed for trial, a number of difficulties arose with the witnesses.”

One witness suggested that he may have been mistaken when he identified Corner in the line-up, and another said that he didn’t want to give evidence.

The court heard how Corner, of Bunyan Avenue, South Shields, told a member of court staff: “I want another barrister, I want the case adjourned, my dad is going to sort out the witnesses”.

It was also told that during a telephone call with his mum, Andrea Coutts, and dad, Steven Corner, on the eve of his hearing on November 5, he said: “You need to put them somewhere, you need them not to come at all now.”

To which his mum replied: “I know that, Joe, it’s sorted, take your mum and dad’s word for it.”

Jane Foley, defending Corner, said that he was “very immature”, and was still reliant on his parents emotionally and dependant on his father’s approval.

She said: “He did what he did, and he is remorseful for it.”

Corner, his mum, Andrea Coutts, and his father, Steven Corner, all pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing.

Stephen Duffield, defending Coutts, said: “She appears to have been motivated throughout by concern for what was going to happen to her son.”

Judge Steven Coupland sentenced Corner to three years and five months in a young offenders’ institute for perverting the course of justice, assault and a further offence of racially-motivated public disorder on a dog walker, which Corner committed last August while he was on bail for the assault.

Coutts, 38, also of Bunyan Avenue, was sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended for 18 months.

Corner senior, 40, who lives with his son and Coutts, is due to be sentenced at a later date.

A fourth defendant, Carl Harrison, 20, of Preston Wood, North Shields, was sent to a young offenders’ institute for 12 months for admitting an assault on the dog walker in which he broke his jaw.

Detective Inspector Paul Woods, of Northumbria Police’s Major Crime Team, said: “This case demonstrates that we will not tolerate anyone interfering with the judicial process, including intimidating or threatening witnesses.”

Shields Gazette