Wigan's week in court
A 29-year-old Wigan car owner found himself on the wrong side of the law when he refused to reveal who was at its wheel when it was involved in a traffic
Damien Williams, of Argyle Street, Hindley, failed to disclose the identity of his BMW's driver when the infringement was committed on July 7 last year, Manchester and Salford magistrates concluded.
Six points were put on his licence and when a fine, victim services surcharge and court costs are totted up, he also has to fork out £1,014.
Former Wigan and Great Britain rugby league star Gareth Hock has appeared in court to deny to charges of rape and other offences.
The 39-year-old is accused of 12 crimes in total, including two rapes, five counts of causing actual bodily harm, assault by beating, coercive, controlling behaviour and perverting the course of justice.
He entered not guilty pleas to all the above, having previously denied leaving the scene of a road smash and failing to report such an incident at an earlier magistrates’ court hearing.
Wearing a long coat and trousers, Hock spoke only to confirm his name and deny all the charges put to him at Bolton Crown court during a 15-minute hearing.
A 10-day trial was set by Judge Martin Walsh for April 15, 2024 where the ex-Super League forward will be questioned by prosecutors, although there will first be a review hearing on May 28 this year.
He was bailed under specific conditions that included surrendering his passport, wearing a GPS tracking tag and sleeping every night at his home address.
Judge Walsh told Hock “If you fail to attend when you are required to attend court, you’ll commit an offence for which you could be arrested and punished.
“If you fail to attend on the day fixed for trial, the trial could take place in your absence.
"Bail is granted to you subject to the conditions I have outlined.”
As far as the motoring offence charges are concerned, it is alleged that Hock was at the wheel of an Audi A6 which crashed on Gathurst Road in Orrell, on November 11 2022 and then drove off without stopping.
Hock began his career with his hometown club Wigan Warriors in 2003 and made almost 200 appearances for the Cherry and Whites. He earned four caps for Great Britain and five for England, for whom he played in the 2008 world cup in Australia.
He later went on to play for Widnes, Salford, Featherstone, Barrow and Leigh.
He retired as a player in 2019 after he made a total of 313 career appearances, scoring 81 tries.
In 2022, he set up a new business venture hiring out skips.
Charges of sexual touching and strangling a woman have been dropped against a Wigan man.
Damian Lukasiewicz had been due to stand trial in May over allegations relating to events on June 13 last year.
But when the 30-year-old of Irwell Place, Norley, entered not guilty pleas, the prosecution at Preston Crown Court did not challenge them.
However he did admit to assault causing actual bodily harm on that same date.
The judge released him on conditional bail pending sentence on June 8 and the trial was vacated.
A Wigan man accused of importing two flick knives has walked free from court after the case against him collapsed.
Lewis Kewharding, 23, of Bramble Grove, Norley, had been due to stand trial at Bolton Crown Court this month after previously denying that he had ordered prohibited weapons in November 2021.
But before the trial could began, the prosecution offered no evidence and the judge told the defendant that he was free to go.
A thug already in jail for battering his Wigan girlfriend is now facing more time behind bars for a second domestic abuse conviction.
Nathan Modlinsky assaulted his long-standing partner on November 18, 2020 in Norris Street, Warrington, and seven months later punched and strangled his new lover, Chloe Prescott, at her home in Bickershaw.
As the Wigan Observer reported last year, the latter victim, a mum-of-three, lost the baby she was carrying two days after the attack and to this day blames Modlinsky, although he disputes it.
He is currently serving three years for that offence and a judge has now sentenced him to 17 months to begin when that term ends for the earlier Warrington assault.
Ben Berkson, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that Modlinsky, formerly of Rugby Road, Leigh, had been in a relationship for about two years which started off promisingly but deteriorated and came to a head because of his “paranoia and jealousy.”
On November 18, 2020 police were called to Norris Street outside the Norris Grill after reports of an assault.
Modlinsky had repeatedly punched her causing her to fall to the ground.
“He dragged her to her feet before leading her to the end of the road and the defendant then placed his hands to her throat before releasing her.”
Members of the public intervened to assist the victim who was visibly injured and upset.
During the attack he had been shouting and making threats to her. He accused her of being unfaithful, demanding she hold his hand in public or he would slap her in public, said Mr Berkson.
In an impact statement the victim said that she used to be vivacious and social but is now withdrawn with mental health problems.
She said her confidence has been affected and she “wanted her life back as it was before she met him.”
Modlinsky, 26, pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm. The court heard that he has seven previous convictions for 13 offences including wounding and assault.
Mr Berkson said that included an assault on the defendant’s next partner which also involved punching and strangulation.
Both of his assault victims were present in court for today’s hearing.
Oliver Saddington, defending, said that Modlinsky, who appeared via video link from prison, wished to apologise for his behaviour. “On that day he allowed his temper to get the better of him.”
"He is undertaking courses in prison and receiving treatment for mental health issues.
“He wants to rekindle his relationships with his family and six-year-old son for whom he hopes to become something of a role model but he is realistic that it will take some time to become proven.”
Sentencing the defendant Judge Andrew Menary, KC, the Recorder of Liverpool said that the couple’s relationship had “been marked with controlling behaviour and abuse largely to do with your obsessive jealousy.”
He said that on the day of the offence he had “assaulted her by repeatedly punching her hard, knocking her to the floor.
"You then dragged her to her feet before putting your hands around her throat, strangling her.
"Putting a hand around someone’s throat is a real red flag as far as the court is concerned.”
The judge imposed a 10-year restraining order to keep away from the victim and the WA2 postcode area.
Last year Chloe told the Wigan Observer about Modlinsky’s controlling behaviour and how she had to miss her daughter’s birthday because the injuries he had inflicted on her left her “looking like the Elephant Man.”
She is now wary of starting relationships and says she will always use Clare’s Law – the domestic violence disclosure scheme – to check if a partner has a violent background. She said: “If I had advice for anybody, I would say if they have any red flags or think anything doesn’t fit right, then find out about Clare’s Law.”
A Wigan man who failed to provide a train ticket showing he had paid the fare has been left with a hefty bill.
Simon Ardery, 36, of Saddleback Road, Norley, pleaded guilty to not producing a ticket in Leeds on March 4, 2021 when he appeared at Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court.
He was ordered to pay £45 prosecution costs, £41.10 in compensation, £40 fine and £34 to fund victim services.
A Wigan woman has denied failing to provide information to the police about the identity of a driver alleged to have committed an offence.
It is alleged that Chelsea Williams, 28, of Buttermere Road, Norley, was asked about the driver of a Land Rover 4x4 on August 18, 2021.
She will appear at Tameside Magistrates' Court for a case management hearing on May 30.
A man has appeared in court accused of threatening a woman with a knife in Wigan town centre.
Scott Dempsey, 47, of Manor Court, Golborne, is charged with threatening Denise Aspinall with a folding pocket knife on Wallgate on August 13.
He is also alleged to have had an offensive weapon on Wallgate - described as a "solid object within a sock" - on the same date and entering a garage on Upwood Road, Lowton, with intent to steal on June 18 last year.
Dempsey admitted breaching his bail conditions by not complying with an electronic curfew on March 10.
He was remanded on bail at Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court, with conditions which include a curfew between 9pm and 9am, living and sleeping at his home address and not entering Wallgate.
Dempsey will appear at Bolton Crown Court on October 10.
A driver who failed to stop at a red traffic light has been fined.
Kylie Hill, 23, of Elm Tree Road, Lowton, was convicted of driving through the light on the A580 East Lancashire Road in Swinton 1.9 seconds after it had changed to red. Magistrates ordered her to pay a £220 fine, £90 costs and £88 victim surcharge.
Her driving licence was endorsed with three points.
Several Wigan motorists have been left with large bills after being caught breaking the speed limit.
Philip Lloyd, 29, of Peter Street, Ashton, reached 101mph in a BMW as it travelled along the M62 between junctions 11 and 10 on July 10, the speed limit was 70mph. Manchester and Salford magistrates ordered him to pay a £507 fine, £202 victim surcharge and £90 costs.
His driving licence was endorsed with six points.
Jennifer Martin, 43, of St Mary's Avenue, Billinge, was caught travelling at 75mph in the same area on July 6, but temporary restrictions at the time meant the speed limit was 40mph.
She pleaded guilty and was fined £1,154.
She must also pay £461 for victim services and £90 costs, and her driving licence was endorsed with six points.
Nigel Mulvanny, 60, of Gladden Hey Drive, Winstanley, travelled at 67mph on the M62 between junctions 12 and 11 on July 12, when the speed limit was 40mph.
He must pay a fine of £475, £190 victim surcharge and £90 costs, while his driving licence was also endorsed with six points.
David Horner, 34, of Rutland Road, Tyldesley, was travelling at 52mph on the A580 East Lancashire Road in Walkden on July 10, when the speed limit was 40mph.
He must pay a £220 fine, £90 costs and £88 victim surcharge, while his driving licence was endorsed with three points.
Greater Manchester Mayor and former Leigh MP Andy Burnham has been ordered to pay nearly £2,000 after being caught speeding.
The 53-year-old pleaded guilty to driving a Vauxhall Insignia on the M62 westbound between junction 11 (Birchwood interchange) and junction 10 (Croft interchange) at 78 miles per hour. At the time of the incident on July 7, the speed limit was reduced to 40mph.
Mr Burnham, who lives in Golborne, told the Wigan Observer he was not aware of the lower speed limit at the time. He said “I was travelling home on the M62 westbound in normal motorway conditions intending to come off at junction 10 for the M6.
"When I got close to the junction, it became clear that it had recently been closed and I had to re-route quickly back onto the main motorway.
“I was not aware of any variable speed limit in place on the smart motorway system at the time and only found out about it when the letter arrived in the post.
"If I had been aware, I would not have been travelling at that speed.
"That said, I acknowledge that, at 78 mph, I was going too fast and accept the court’s decision.”
Justices at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court ordered him to pay a fine of £1,353, as well as a surcharge of £541 to fund services for victims and £90 costs.
They also endorsed his driving licence with six points.
Labour politician Mr Burnham was MP for Leigh from 2001 to to 2017 and was then elected as the Mayor of Greater Manchester, which includes responsibility for policing.
A man and a woman have denied the murder of an electrician who was gunned down and subjected to an acid attack.
The body of Liam Smith, 38, was found at the bottom of his driveway on Kilburn Drive, in Shevington, in the early evening of November 24.
On Monday, Michael Hillier, 39, of Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, and Rachel Fulstow, 37, of Andrew Drive, York, pleaded not guilty to his murder.
Both appeared at Manchester Crown Court via prison video link as a trial date of July 10 was set.
Fulstow is expected to enter a plea to an additional charge of perverting the course of justice when she appears for a further case management hearing for the pair on May 15. In January, Mr Smith’s family said he was a “devoted” and “adoring” father to his two boys, aged 15 and 11.
Three men, aged 22, 25 and 35, have previously been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder and later bailed.
A Wigan man has been accused of kidnap, false imprisonment and assault.
Dean Braham, 37, formerly of Ratcliffe Street, Springfield, and now of Brewery Lane, Leigh, appeared before borough justices charged with unlawfully and by fraud or force carrying away Dominique Peet, injuriously imprisoning her and assaulting her, causing actual bodily harm.
All the offences are alleged to have taken place on New Year's Eve last year.
Braham is further charged with the burglary of an address in Leyland Gardens, Wigan, during which beer and coconut water were stolen, and possession of an assault rifle, both on March 12 this year.
Because of the seriousness of the allegations the case was immediately sent by Wigan and Leigh magistrates to Bolton Crown Court where Braham, who has yet to enter any pleas, will make a first appearance on April 28.
Before then the bench has remanded him in custody