A man doing an early morning newspaper round was attacked and robbed from his car by three heavy drug users, one carrying a hammer, a court heard.

The victim, a school deputy principal, was helping out on the rounds in Shildon when the nearly two-hour ordeal hit him on August 18.

Durham Crown Court heard they saw defendants Demi Foster and Ryan Patton with a third unknown man on a street corner while making a delivery, around 4am.

As he was walking back to his car, he was approached by them, with one asking if he had a “puff”.

Read more: Cockfield woman admits she started fighting at courthouse

He told them he didn’t and said he was just doing his job, but he noticed that one of them, which came out to be Patton, had a hammer in his clothes.

Paul Cross, prosecuting, said the paperboy was ordered to a number of properties as his unwanted passengers searched for drugs.

He was forced to go to an ATM to withdraw £300 from his wife’s bank account.

As Foster got behind the wheel, the victim’s phone was taken from him and he was told to get into the trunk of his own car.

Mr Cross said when the victim refused, he was bundled up in the back of the car, with one of the front seats pushed against him so he was unable to move.

Foster then became more aggressive, accusing the man of “taking the p**s”, kneeling in the front passenger seat to lean over and punch him.

Mr Cross said his car keys and phone were eventually returned to him and at around 5.50am he drove to a store parking lot to call the newsagent to explain what had happened. passed by and inform him that his attackers had thrown away his bundle of newspapers.

Police were notified and a fingerprint of Foster was found in the car, while Patton was recognized after reviewing CCTV in the area.

The victim told officers that he was unable to get away for a long time and that he feared the unpredictable behavior of the hammer man (Patton), who, like the others. appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

This left him in a constant state of anxiety for which he has since received counseling.

When he was later arrested as he was taken to the police station, Patton said he removed his handcuffs and when an officer went to check, the accused spat in his face, claiming that he had hepatitis B.

Mr Cross said Foster, 30, of The Green, Witton Park, and Patton, 21, of Kilburn Street, Shildon, both admitted to charges of kidnapping and robbery at the plea hearing in court last month.

Foster also admitted to driving without insurance or a license, while Patton also admitted to assaulting a rescue worker.

Read more: Burglar wielding a screwdriver breaks into Peterlee’s house

Tony Davis, for Foster, who says he indicated her guilty pleas “from the start”, told the court: “She apologizes for her irresponsible behavior”.

He said his previous offense was indicative of a “chaotic existence, driven by drug addiction, bringing it into conflict with the criminal law”.

Referring to his latest crime, Mr Davis said: ‘It was an offense that was likely to be detected very quickly.

But he added that while in Low Newton prison, Foster had become “absolutely drug free”, working with the drug and alcohol rehabilitation team and a mental health worker.

Nicholas Askins, for Patton, said that although he largely ‘not answered’ police questions after the incident, he at least confirmed he did not have hepatitis B for reassure the policeman, then indicated his guilt at an early stage. stage of the legal process.

“In the cold light of day, he is completely ashamed of his behavior.

“He was under the influence of alcohol at the time, but while in custody he worked hard with the drug and alcohol team.”

Judge James Adkin said the trio’s bullying behavior over an hour and fifty minutes caused the victim “significant anxiety and serious psychological damage”, for which he took advice and received help from an occupational therapist .

Both defendants were sentenced to four years in prison for the kidnapping and robbery, but Patton was also sentenced to an additional three months for the assault on a rescue worker.

Foster was also banned from driving for 12 months after being released mid-sentence.

Read next:

A 16-year-old boy was seen grabbing sandwiches at County Durham Co-op

County Durham residents charged with theft in past two months

County Durham man returned home to discover burglary

If you want to read more great stories, why not subscribe to your Northern Echo for as little as £1.25 a week. Click here