Durham: Painkillers stolen from terminally ill father in ‘ugly incident’

Leanne Chilton and Shaun O'Kane in their police mug shots

Leanne Chilton and Shaun O’Kane were both sentenced to 24 months in prison (Image: North News and Pictures)

A man and woman who stole painkillers from a terminally ill father’s home during a violent incident at his home have both been sentenced to two years in prison.

Leanne Chilton first showed up with another woman at the Durham home and began banging on the windows around 3am on December 16 last year.

A man who was in the house to take care of his sick father was woken up, opened the back door and told them to leave.

But the couple managed to pry the door open further, allowing them entry before attacking the man and asking where “the drugs” were, prosecutor Shaun Dryden told Teesside Crown Court.

Male defendant Shaun O’Kane then showed up, ostensibly to quell the violence, but he got involved and struck the man who lived in the home at least five times in the head and body.

Chilton then also attacked a young girl who lived in the house and had slept in another room.

As they left, one of the two was taking strong painkillers prescribed for the terminally ill patient.

When O’Kane was tracked down and arrested a few hours later, he was so intoxicated from the stolen medication that he had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

Liam O’Brien, defending O’Kane, said his client intended to remain on track after serving a previous sentence.

“He’s managed to stay crime-free for quite a while for someone with his record and he’s disappointed in himself at the position he’s in now back at number one,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said while in custody O’Kane felt he had not been able to properly mourn family tragedies that have transpired over the past few months.

Shada Mellor, representing Chilton, said she was under the influence of “illegal substances” on the night of the incident as events “escalated and quickly got out of hand”.

But she said the defendant felt she benefited from her pre-trial detention by attending educational and vocational courses.

“For the first time in a long time she is free of illegal drugs,” she added.

O’Kane, 35, and Chilton, 27, both admitted to a fight, while Stanley’s O’Kane also admitted to handling the stolen drugs.

Chilton, formerly of Chester-le-Street, also admitted to causing an assault in connection with the attack on the young girl which actually caused bodily harm.

Judge Chris Smith said it was “an unfortunate set of circumstances” and whatever their original motives were, it turned into “an ugly incident of ongoing violence”.

He gave both a 24-month sentence.

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Justin Scacco

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