Thorney Close couple violently attacked elderly couple in their 70s after Durham Road collision

A Thorney Close couple travelling with their child brutally attacked an older couple after a crash on the Durham Road.

Daniel Parkinson, 31, and Bethany Wilkinson, 25, leapt from their van and sickeningly assaulted the married pair, aged in their 70s, on a slip road off the A690 Durham Road.

Parkinson, of Taunton Road, Thorney Close, dragged the male driver from his Range Rover and punched him in the face, causing injuries which required medical treatment.

In tandem, passenger Wilkinson, of Noble Street, Hendon, punched the woman in the face and pulled out a clump of her hair, leading to a hospital visit, prosecutor Paul Coulson said.

Magistrates heard the attack happened after alleged dodgy driving by both parties on the Durham-bound dual carriageway near Houghton at 4.30pm on Friday, January 5.

Mr Coulson told the South Tyneside court: “The elderly couple were driving to Durham from Sunderland.

“At the slip road for Houghton-le-Spring, he signalled to come off and was behind a bus.

“A Ford Transit van approached from behind in the left-hand lane and moved in front of them in the right-hand lane.

“It left insufficient braking distance and the couple’s car collided with the back of it.

“Parkinson got out of the van and was very angry of demeanour and shouted abuse.

“The male victim undid his seatbelt so that they could exchange details for their insurance, but Parkinson began punching the window.

“He kicked the vehicle and was shouting through the window that there was a child in the van.

“He then opened the driver’s door and grabbed his victim by his jacket and dragged him out.

“He punched the man to the face, injuring his ear. He suffered cuts to his head and bruising.”

Of Wilkinson’s involvement, Mr Coulson added: “She was shouting abuse and punched the woman in the face, just below her nose, and tried to drag her from the car.

“There is some ambiguity about how many punches there were but there were at least two.

“The victim picked up her phone and said that she was phoning the police. She sought treatment for her injuries.

“Hair was pulled from her head and that had to be dealt with in hospital.

Parkinson and Wilkinson each pleaded guilty to a charge of assault by beating.

Nick Moore, defending energy consultant Parkinson, who has three previous convictions, said: “There is a suggestion of bad driving by the injured party.

“It was spur of the moment by the defendant, he saw red. To his credit he phoned the police the following day.

“He made full admissions and cooperated fully. He is remorseful and knows what occurred was out of order.”

Sophie Allinson, defending Wilkinson, said: “It was wholly out of character. She has no previous convictions.

“Prior to this incident, the driver of the Range Rover had been cutting in and out of lanes and had cut them off a number of times.

“Because she had her child present, she was frightened by the standard of driving of the other vehicle. Her emotions overtook her.

“It was limited to her trying to pull her victim out of the car and punching her not more than two times. It was unacceptable behaviour.”

Magistrates ordered reports and Parkinson and Wilkinson will be sentenced at the same court on Tuesday, July 2.

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