Gemma Finnigan’s killer Daniel Johnson from Boldon jailed for life

Cannabis smoker and murderer at 15, he killed a woman 16 years later while on licence:

A killer who strangled and stabbed his partner because he believed she was possessed by the devil has been given a life sentence – 16 years after killing another innocent person.

Schizophrenic Daniel Johnson will serve a minimum of 20 years in jail after pleading guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility three days into his murder trial.

He met his victim Gemma Finnigan, shortly after being released on licence for the 1996 joint murder of David Younes in North Kenton which he committed when he was just 15, but the true nature of his crime was never revealed to the 24-year-old victim or her family.

After weeks of bizarre behaviour, Johnson, 33, struck at 3.30am on Friday, September 13, last year, strangling and beating his partner until she was unconscious. He then walked to the kitchen and collected three knives which he used to stab her in her back and front 14 times in their flat in Church View, Boldon Colliery, South Tyneside.

Johnson then drove to Kenton School, in Newcastle, where he broke in and was found wandering round stripped to the waist, covered in blood.

The defendant had claimed insanity due to suffering psychotic episodes, but on Thursday when three independent psychiatrists agreed his case instead fell under diminished responsibility due to his mental state at the time, he decided to plead guilty.

He will serve his sentence in a prison rather than Rampton Hospital, Nottinghamshire, where he has been detained since the offence.

A serious case review has now been launched into the death, with the Finnigan family criticising the Probation Service for failing to notify them of Johnson’s earlier conviction.

On November 3, 1996, Johnson and a 17-year-old friend were trying to steal a car in Kenton, Newcastle, when they got involved in a confrontation with passer-by Mr Younes, 32. Johnson struck him over the head with a metal bar while his co-accused repeatedly stabbed him. A year later Johnson was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years for his part, later shortened to 12.

In a statement read to the court, Gemma’s mum Jennifer, who broke down in tears at the conclusion of the hearing, said: “Gemma was a wonderful daughter and special to everyone who same into contact with her.

“She was what I would describe as a ray of sunshine who made everyone around her feel worthwhile. All she ever wanted was to help others and make people happy.

“I feel angry and let down by the Probation Service as they did not tell me or Gemma about his involvement in the first murder. Had Gemma known about this we would never have welcomed him into our home and Gemma would still be here.”

After the sentencing, Gemma’s sister Kristi Allen, 17, added: “20 years is nowhere near enough to make up for what he did to Gemma.”

Meanwhile, consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr James Stoddart, who works at St Nicholas Hospital, Newcastle, told Mr Justice Green that Johnson’s use of drugs like cannabis, which he grew at home, was likely to have exacerbated his psychotic behaviour.

Mr Justice Green, sentencing, told Johnson: “In my view even though your responsibility was diminished you still bear some responsibility.

“You refused to obtain medical assistance. Had you sought help for your condition this terrible tragedy might never have occurred at all.

“This offence was also likely to be drug related and you used extreme violence to obtain knives which were then used upon Gemma, who was utterly defenceless at the time.”

He added: “In my view you pose an extremely serious and potentially lethal threat to society and a threat that is not possible to say will necessarily ever go away.

“You have now committed two acts of extreme violence over a period of 16 years.”

Toby Hedworth QC, mitigating, said his client was full of remorse, having been supported by Gemma and her family after his release from prison.

He said: “He will have to live for the rest of his days with the knowledge that it was he who snuffed out the light of her life.”

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Barron, of Northumbria Police, welcomed the sentence.

He said: “As we have heard during this trial, this means he had a mental illness at the time he killed Gemma.

“Johnson is a violent individual who attempted to argue he was insane at the time of the killing as an excuse for killing Gemma Finnigan.

“It is clear he knew what he was doing and must now accept responsibility for his actions.

“Gemma died in tragic circumstances and our thoughts are with her family at this very difficult time. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the dignity that they have shown throughout our investigation.

“We worked closely with the CPS throughout the investigation and I’d also like to thank them for their support.”

Facebook child groomer who supplied vulnerable 13-year-old with drugs jailed for four years

Child groomer Jed Milburn has been jailed for four years after supplying a vulnerable 13-year-old with drugs in the hope of sexual favours.

The 27-year-old lied about his age and used a false Facebook profile to target the girl online.

A court heard he repeatedly offered to supply the teenager with cannabis, hoping for something in return.

When she said she would bring her friend, he “agreed enthusiastically” and asked for pictures.

Milburn met the girls in Walker Park and they smoked cannabis, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Now he has been locked up after he admitted meeting a child following sexual grooming and supplying cannabis, which a judge said was for sexual advantage.

Murder accused admits killing his ‘best mate’ but insists: ‘I was defending myself’

Murder accused Daniel Smith has admitted killing his “best mate” but claimed he was acting in self-defence when he stabbed the man he described as “like a brother” in the chest.

Prosecutors claim the 21-year-old murdered Jonathan Carr at his flat in Gateshead during an evening socialising together.

Giving evidence to jurors at Newcastle Crown Court for the first time, Smith said trouble flared after he accidentally smashed a glass bong belonging to Jonathan.

He claimed Jonathan, also 21, attacked him and he picked up the knife and pushed out with it, fearing for his life.

Asked by his barrister, Jason Pitter QC, if he accepted stabbing and killing Jonathan, he replied: “Yes”.

Mr Pitter asked why he did it and Smith replied: “I was defending myself”.

Smith said alcohol and drugs had affected his memory but that “bits and pieces have been coming back”.

Asked about his relationship with Jonathan, who he knew as Ali, he said: “It was good, he was like a brother. We were like best mates.”

Smith said on July 31, he and his cousin, Steven Morrison, had decided to go to Jonathan’s flat in Deckham, Gateshead.

They drank tequila, rum, Brown Ale and Stella Artois and also smoked cannabis and took some codeine tablets. Smith said at one point they went to meet someone to buy cocaine and then went to a fish and chip shop, where he admitted his behaviour was “disgraceful”.

In December 2018, Smith was found guilty of murdering Jonathan Carr, and sentenced to life in prison.

Our Malcolm can finally rest in peace

“Malcolm died after being arrested for behaviour which was totally out of character – but we never thought the police were responsible for his death.”

Divorced dad Mr Flockton, of Garth 22, Killingworth, collapsed and died after being arrested outside the home of his partner Sandra Stringer’s ex-husband.

She told the jury he had eaten a homemade cannabis biscuit, then gone to her ex’s home to talk to her nine-year-old son, who was staying there. Mr Flockton was naked apart from a fleece jacket and he began shouting and throwing stones at the house. When police were called he was said to have been calm at first.

But he then began to struggle violently with police officers for a period of 30 minutes before being taken to Wallsend Police Station. There he collapsed within minutes of arrival.

Violent North Shields thug jailed for attacks on pal

A VULNERABLE man was killed after being repeatedly attacked by his violent bully friend.

Amendeep Singh Rai befriended then regularly beat victim Kenneth Oakes in the lead up to his death.

The 52-year-old, who suffered from learning difficulties, a severe speech impediment and bad eye sight, was found dead at Rai’s flat on Stanley Street, North Shields.

During the three weeks leading-up to his death, defenceless Mr Oakes, known as Kenny, was subject to at least four brutal attacks at the hands of Rai, 21, which left him with a staggering 43 rib fractures, a broken breast bone, bruises and cuts.

In the final deadly assault, two segments of Mr Oakes’s ribs completely broke off, making it impossible for him to breath.

He collapsed and died on the floor of Rai’s apartment, just a couple of hours after the pair had shared a take-away.

Cannabis addict Rai was yesterday jailed for six years, with three years extended licence, at Newcastle Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Dale Cregan

Since I began working on this site in October of last year, I have several times thought that I had discovered every major instance in the last 20 years or so of a cannabis smoker committing violence, only to come upon yet another terrible case.

For example, many weeks after I’d published a hard copy of ‘Attacker Smoked Cannabis’ and posted it to a number of politicians, journalists and activists, somebody pointed me towards the case of Jodi Jones in Scotland, murdered in 2003 by her 15-year-old boyfriend, who, by his own admission, smoked more cannabis in a day than many heavy smokers would consume in a week.

Not long after reading about this case, I read about the murder of Rhys Jones, inadvertently gunned down by a local thug who spent much of his young life smoking cannabis.

Today, during what might be called a routine online search of various local papers, I came upon one Dale Cregan, one of the most notorious murderers of recent times.

As with many such cases, I discovered his appalling criminal record by chance, after reading of the recent conviction of his brother, Dean Moores, who uses a different surname to his biological sibling. Last month, Moores was jailed for five years for stabbing his sister’s ex-boyfriend, and, surprise, surprise, for cultivating cannabis. Needless to say, cannabis also features prominently in Cregan’s litany of psychopathic violence.

A drug and arms dealer from his teens, Cregan is currently serving a whole life prison order for four counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, all of which occurred in one five-month period of 2012. First, in May, Cregan shot dead the son of a rival drug dealer, and attempted to murder three other men in the same incident. Three months later, he killed the drug dealer himself, by shooting him nine times and throwing a grenade at him, blowing him to pieces.

A month later, he made a bogus 999 call, claiming there had been an incident at his house. Two police officers, Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, attended the call. Cregan lured them into a trap, shot them each at least eight times, and threw a grenade at them. He then drove to a local police station and confessed his crime. In June the following year, he was sentenced to life in prison.

Many news reports have noted that Cregan dealt cannabis. In addition, two years after his conviction, Cregan was placed in solitary confinement for smuggling a mobile phone and cannabis into his prison cell, and a subsequent drugs test reportedly found traces of cannabis in his urine. Despite all this, however, his consumption of cannabis, though seemingly obvious and relevant, has only been noted by one site, rather inappropriately named ‘The Famous People’.



Drunk thug dad who stunk of weed bit cop during arrest – before telling him he had AIDS

A police officer had to undergo tests for hepatitis and HIV after a thug dad bit him before telling him he had AIDS.

Sean Fiddaman, 31, has been jailed for 12 months after he was convicted following a trial.

Manchester Crown Court heard Fiddaman didn’t reveal he had lied for 16 hours, meaning the officer had to go to hospital for tests.

Fiddaman was in a car which crashed into a wall in Hulme, at the junction of Greenheys Lane and Bold Street in the early hours.

He and another man left, but they were tracked down after residents called 999.

Man locked up for ‘unforgivable’ attack on sleeping teen after cannabis party

This is also noteworthy for the fact that he claims to have imported the cannabis from the USA and knew that it was strong, providing yet more evidence that cannabis smokers do, in fact, know what they are smoking:

A man who raped and sexually assaulted a teenage girl after a cannabis party at his home has been jailed for five and a half years.

Daniel Lee Cook, of no fixed address but formerly of Caernarfon, attacked the girl despite her telling him to stop.

The 22-year-old had admitted the charges at an earlier hearing and was at Caernarfon Crown Court for sentence.

Cook initially denied the offences, claiming he had slept through the night, and suggested the girl was lying.

When confronted by forensic evidence linking him to the victim, he claimed she had had sex with him while he slept.

Jailing him, Judge Huw Rees said Cook had admitted to an “unforgivable piece of behaviour, fuelled by drugs, to satisfy his lustful needs”.

In addition, the judge made an indefinite restraining order preventing Cook from contacting the girl.

He must also sign the sex offenders register for life.

The court heard Cook had been joined at his home by the girl and two friends and, during the evening, they had smoked several cigarettes containing cannabis.

Prosecutor Mathew Curtis said Cook had boasted the drug was imported from America and was very strong.

Later, during the early hours, the girl was asleep when she became aware of Cook behind her.

She told him to stop and Cook left the room, but later returned and attacked her a second time.

After this occasion, she left the house and the police were alerted. Cook was arrested the following day.

At interview, he claimed the girl was lying and later, after forensic tests were carried out, he claimed she had attacked him.

Elen Owen, defending, said Cook genuinely doesn’t recall the night in question, having taken a cocktail of prescription drugs, alcohol and cannabis.

She said his best mitigation was his guilty plea and urged the court to keep the prison sentence as short as possible.

Violent rapist who attacked pregnant girl in Blackpool gets extended prison sentence

A convicted sex offender who subjected a vulnerable teenager to a brutal rape on the day she discovered she was expecting a baby has been jailed – more than a decade later.

Judge Philip Parry branded the violent attack as “of the utmost depravity” as he found Michael Allen MacKenzie to be a dangerous offender who posed a substantial risk to women.

He imposed a 14 year jail term with an extended licence period of five years.

MacKenzie, 69, of Keswick Road, Blackpool, had failed to attend his trial at Preston Crown Court in March and was later found in Blackpool attempting to commit suicide.

But after being assessed by a psychiatrist and found fit to face trial, he admitted two rapes and two indecent assaults against the victim, who cannot be identified.

He was prosecuted as a result of a separate Lancashire Police investigation into the sexual exploitation of children in the resort, though he is not linked to that probe.

Prosecuting, Katie Jones said the complainant, now a married mum, had revealed the rape to her husband in 2013. She said she had been a vulnerable girl, her family were known to social services and she went to a local school in Blackpool.

She got to know some girls, and through their friendship she got to know MacKenzie.

Miss Jones added: “So it was that she got to know the defendant and he used to give the girls money, which they would spend on cigarettes, sweets and alcohol, and he would also give them cannabis.

“He would pay her compliments. It used to make her feel uncomfortable and she didn’t like his attention.”

The court heard she went to the defendant’s Blackpool flat with her friend the day she found out she was pregnant after her family’s reaction. She was told the defendant had keys to a flat he was “looking after” and could stay there.

Miss Jones said: “At the flat, the prosecution say, all three spent time drinking alcohol he had brought with him and smoking cannabis. She remembered the cannabis made her paranoid.”

The court heard the girls fell out, and the friend left the flat, leaving the pair alone. After locking the door MacKenzie then launched a vile attack, putting a washing line around the terrified teen’s neck and dragging her onto the floor and into the bedroom where he punched her. He ripped her clothes off and attacked her multiple times, holding her by her throat or by her hair. The attack went on throughout the night.

Miss Jones added: “She asks herself why she didn’t try and get out. She felt like her body had given up and would rather him do the awful things he was doing and get out alive for the sake of her unborn child.”

The following morning, after he left the flat, the youngster went to Blackpool Police Station and stood outside for a while, but did not have the courage to go in. In a victim impact statement she said she feared she would be judged because she was pregnant.

She said: ” I felt ashamed and dirty and I couldn’t tell anyone what he had done to me. “After all who would believe me? I was young and pregnant.” She also said she feared she could have lost her baby as a result of the violent attack.

MacKenzie has 20 convictions for 35 offences including unlawful sexual intercourse with 15 year old girl, an attempted rape in 1989, and violence.

Defending, Sara Haque asked for credit for his guilty pleas and argued he did not pose a risk to the public as 15 years had passed since his last conviction.

Judge Philip Parry said: “The victim was in my judgement an incredibly vulnerable young teenager.

“Set about that depressing background she was desperate for friendship and genuine affection.

“She was that day even more vulnerable and in need of comfort and affection than ever before.

“She cried out and begged you to stop.

“She was by now utterly terrified and in fear of her life.”

“She has nothing to be ashamed of – the shame Mr MacKenzie, is all yours.

“In my judgement you destroyed her childhood years and many of her adult years too.”

He must sign the sex offender’s register for life.

Ex-boyfriend launched terror campaign against two former partners and posted explicit photos on Facebook

An ex-boyfriend wormed his way back into his former partner’s life before beating her, stealing her phone and posting revealing photographs on Facebook.

Jamie Lee, 25, appeared at Truro Crown Court to be sentenced after admitting an array of crimes which concerned shocking behaviour towards two separate female victims in Bodmin and in Somerset.

Lee, of Church Gardens, Glastonbury, stalked one of his former partners and shared revealing photographs after a two-week relationship broke down and was violent and threatening towards the other woman, again posting private images.

He was sentenced by resident judge Robert Linford for stalking, breaching a restraining order, two criminal damage charges, making threats to kill and disclosing a private revealing or sexual photograph.

The first stalking offence occurred in Taunton in May of last year after the defendant had a two-week relationship with the victim.

Prosecuting barrister Peter Coombe described how, when the woman woke him up from a sleep as requested, he threatened to “put her in a body bag” resulting in the ending of the relationship.

Despite the break-up he proceeded to follow her and her friend to the gym, throwing objects at the car as they sat in stationary traffic.

Lee then continued to drive around after the victim, calling her at work, throwing stones at her window and smearing barbecue sauce over her car. He then put an intimate photograph of her on Facebook and sent it to her former boyfriend.

The victim withdrew the evidence following pressure from Lee but even after doing so he continued what Mr Coombe described as “a campaign of persecution against her”, issuing further threats such as parking outside her house and texting her while she was in sight saying “only a matter of time, late at night ;)”.

Lee was then bailed and made his way to Bodmin after he contacted the second victim, with whom he’d been in a relationship with previously from when she was aged 15.

Mr Coombe outlined the violent nature of their previous relationship, describing how Coombe assaulted her and dragged her to the floor by her hair, resulting in a restraining order being put in place. Despite the restraining order Lee got in touch with the victim on Instagram in October 2017 and sent her a video of him self-harming and threatening to kill himself.

Mr Coombe said: “The victim drove him to Cornwall and dropped him to a friends, allowing him back into her life as she was scared he would kill himself.

“The defendant found out from a friend where she lived visited regularly, pressurising her to allowing him stay. There was then a rapid deterioration of the defendant’s behaviour as he was regularly under the influence of cocaine and cannabis.”

Samuel Gildea jailed for baby son Alfie’s shaking death

A man who shook his baby son to death in an “act of deliberate violence” has been jailed.

Samuel Gildea, 30, admitted the manslaughter of four-month-old Alfie Gildea.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard the boy died two days after he was found with head injuries by his mother on 12 September 2018.

Gildea, of Partington, Trafford, who also admitted coercive and controlling behaviour, was sentenced to 19 years.

He had been due to stand trial for murder, but his guilty plea to manslaughter was accepted by the Crown on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Andrew Thomas QC said Gildea had admitted causing Alfie’s death in an “act of deliberate and unlawful violence which involved rigorous and violent shaking”.

The court heard Alfie’s mother Caitlin McMichael had called the ambulance service to say her baby was not breathing.

When paramedics arrived at the home in Woodruff Walk the baby was in cardiac arrest.

He was taken to hospital where staff restarted his heart, and Gildea was arrested after his son’s injuries were deemed to be non-accidental.

The baby’s life support was turned off the following day.

Gildea had a history of involvement with mental health services, the court heard.

Blood samples taken from the defendant the day after his son’s death showed traces of cocaine and cannabis in his system, consistent with recent use.

Dangerous man raped pensioner before laughing and stealing her husband’s ashes

Here is one of hundreds of cases that reeks of cannabis, but does not mention cannabis: Dangerous man raped pensioner before laughing and stealing her husband’s ashes.

Doctors are currently treating Stip [the defendant] at Langdon Hospital. They say he is responding to treatment and showing greater insight into his crimes. His behaviour can only partly be explained by his mental health and may have been made worse by his drug use.

What ‘drug use’ could have so damaged his mental health? Either nobody bothered to find out, or the paper has not bothered to report it.

Roofer plunged knife into neighbour’s neck – for not voting in local elections

From the Birmingham Mail (

“It came completely out of the blue and arose out of your strong views about politics. It was an extraordinary motive.”

Nicholas Berry, defending, said Byrne’s use of cannabis lead to his mood fluctuating and that he suffered from depression.

Drug-driver mowed down three children while fleeing row with her girlfriend

This trend alone, of drivers high on cannabis causing death or injury, ought to halt the legalisation movement. I don’t usually include them, as the link is undeniable, but this one is noteworthy for its terrifying nature, the fact the driver was a woman, and the fact that she was given only a two-year prison sentence for all offences: Drug-driver mowed down three children while fleeing row with her girlfriend.

A drug-driver who mowed down a mother and three children with her car whilst she was fleeing her girlfriend following a bust-up has been jailed.

Samantha Ogden, 28, was high on cannabis and had been reversing at speed when she mounted a pavement and ploughed into Natalie Mulligan who was walking hand-in-hand with her 11-year-old daughter and two other children aged 11 and six.

As paramedics were called to the scene and the youngest girl was pinned to a fence unconscious with a fractured skull, Ogden tried to explain her behaviour to an incredulous Miss Mulligan saying: ”I was just having s**t with my bird and I needed to get off.”

Tests showed she was three times the drug-drive limit.

Doctors said the six-year-old girl’s injuries will take nine months to heal.

She now won’t sleep in her own bed and has nightmares and flashbacks from the incident.

Miss Mulligan’s daughter is now afraid to walk home from school. Miss Mulligan and the other two children suffered minor injuries in the impact.

Paedophile who ‘violated boy for his own perverse pleasure’ is jailed

Quite often in cases of paedophilia and sexual abuse the victims are plied with alcohol and drugs, including cannabis. The link between these crimes seems less meaningful than that between cannabis and violence, but is nonetheless worth reporting. Here’s a dismally disturbing case from last year: Paedophile who ‘violated boy for his own perverse pleasure’ is jailed.

The court heard that on a number of occasions Logan took the boy to his flat, where he would smoke cannabis with him before ‘pestering’ him to engage in sexual activity.

Teenagers armed with knives and screwdrivers go on terrifying car-jacking spree

More common even than stories of cannabis smokers committing violence are stories of criminals being convicted of cannabis possession alongside a violent offence or other crime, in which smoking of the drug was not stated as a fact. Here’s one recent story that could stand for hundreds: Teenagers armed with knives and screwdrivers go on terrifying car-jacking spree.

If anyone would care to bet that these young men merely possessed cannabis without ever having smoked it I should be happy to offer generous odds.