Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Pistol-Packing Biker Sent on Tees Mission of Terror

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Pistol-Packing Biker Sent on Tees Mission of Terror

Article excerpt

Byline: Gareth Lightfoot Court reporter gareth.light@eveninggazette.co.uk

A GUNMAN sent across Teesside on a mission to bring terror to the door of an aerial fitter has been jailed for more than six years.

Pistol-packing motorcyclist Steven Knight abandoned the sinister scheme realising the police were on to him. Then he fled to Spain and announced on Facebook: "New life starting today in the sun. See you later Boro."

Justice caught up with him at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.

A judge heard how Knight, 33, rode from Middlesbrough with a loaded semi-automatic handgun.

He drove to the house of the intended quarry in Hartlepool, but got "spooked" with a police helicopter circling overhead.

He threw the weapon away in Middlesbrough and headed home, where he was arrested.

Prosecutor David Brooke said the object of the mission was "at the very least to frighten" its victim, though its motive is still shrouded in mystery.

Four days earlier the victim had been lured to Durham Road, Eston, and attacked by two other men in balaclavas.

Wielding an iron bar and a baseball bat, the masked men warned him to "keep your mouth shut".

The gun plan was hatched to reinforce the message on July 8 last year, Mr Brooke told the court.

Knight denied any knowledge of the firearm, but evidence mounted against him and he went abroad facing trial earlier this year. He was later arrested as he arrived at Newcastle Airport.

Knight, of Bevanlee Road, South Bank, admitted conspiring to possess a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

Stephen Constantine, defending, said Knight went to frighten the victim on others' instructions.

He told the court: "He was taken advantage of. Foolishly he went along with what was requested of him.

"He panicked, having been observed by police."

He said Knight never met the victim of the plot, who was "blissfully unaware" of what went on.

Knight panicked again when he found himself "between the devil and the blue sea" considering his pleas, and went to Spain where he had extended family. …

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