Man jailed following fatal road traffic collision, Tutbury

A man has been jailed for 12 months for causing the deaths of two minibus passengers in February 2015.

Artur Mendonca Lopes Martins, aged 43, from Castelo Branco in Portugal, pleaded guilty to two offences of causing death by driving without due care and attention at a hearing in December.

He was sentenced at Stafford Crown Court today, Friday (22).

In addition to the prison sentence he was disqualified from driving for two years, which starts upon his release from prison, and he will have to take an extended driving retest.

This relates to a collision on the A511 Tutbury Road, Tutbury, on Sunday 15 February 2015.

The collision occurred just before 7am and involved a HGV (driven by Martins) and a minibus.

As a result of the collision, two men from the minibus were pronounced dead at the scene. They were identified as Albino Otero Rodriguez, aged 50, from Northern Spain, and Juan Carlos Rey Solla, aged 41, from Northern Spain.

Following the collision the drivers of both vehicles were arrested. A 27-year-old man from Spain (who was staying in Appleby Magna, Derbyshire), the minibus driver, was released from his bail without charge.

The minibus was carrying Spanish nationals who were travelling to their workplace in the Tutbury area. A number of people were treated for minor injuries at Queen’s Hospital in Burton and discharged.

A man who was treated in hospital in Nottingham is recovering at his home address in Spain.

PC Andy Talbot, investigating officer, said: “I hope today’s sentence brings some comfort to the families of Albino and Juan who lost their lives in tragic circumstances whilst on their way to work.

“This case should serve as a timely reminder to all motorists to drive carefully and with consideration, otherwise face the consequences.

“We are committed to working with our partners to ensure safety on the county’s roads and reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries.”

NEWS: Stoke-on-Trent man jailed for sisters murder

A man has been jailed for life after admitting killing his sister.

Gareth Hindmarsh, 35, of Tawney Crescent, Meir, Stoke-on-Trent, was sentenced at Stafford Crown Court today, Friday 6 November, after he pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

He received a life sentence, to serve a minimum of 22 and-a-half years.

Gareth Hindmarsh
PHOTO: Gareth Hindmarsh

Emergency services were called to Beckett Avenue, Meir, at around 1pm on Sunday 28 June, following the discovery of Linda Norcup’s body.

Sadly, Linda, aged 46, was pronounced dead at the scene and a murder investigation was launched. Detectives arrested Hindmarsh and he was later charged with Linda’s murder.

The court heard that on Saturday 27 June, Hindmarsh spent the evening drinking with Linda at her home in Beckett Avenue. He admitted that after leaving at around 11.50pm he went home and decided he was going to kill her.

Hindmarsh returned to Linda’s flat and strangled her using a piece of cord he had taken from his home as she slept in bed, he used such force that the cord snapped around her neck. He left the address in Beckett Avenue and returned home, on the way disposing of the cord in a nearby drain.

After a short time Hindmarsh returned to Linda and using plastic bags which he stretched into another ligature he again strangled her. He then moved Linda’s body from the bedroom into the bathroom and left her draped over the bath, he turned the taps on and left the property again to go home. The following lunchtime Hindmarsh returned to Linda’s body and called emergency services claiming to have just found her lifeless.

Hindmarsh was initially arrested on June 28 but, due to insufficient evidence to charge him, he was released on police bail while the investigation and evidence gathering continued. However, on Wednesday 1 July he returned to one of the force’s custody facilities to hand himself in and confessed to Linda’s murder. He was rearrested and subsequently charged with murder.

Linda’s family continue to receive support from specially-trained officers.

Linda Norcup
PHOTO: Linda Norcup

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Giles, who led the inquiry, said: “Hindmarsh callously murdered Linda, his half-sister, in circumstances which would have been difficult to predict and prevent. He is an extremely dangerous man.

“Linda was a vulnerable lady who did not offer any hostility towards Hindmarsh and moreover was incapable of defending herself. Hindmarsh carefully managed every stage; Linda’s murder, her discovery and his admissions to the Police and to the Court.

“He has failed to show any remorse or give a clear explanation as to motive. Linda’s death has devastated the family and I hope a substantial term of imprisonment will give those who loved Linda the opportunity to come to terms with this tragic event.”

Linda’s family said “We have lost, in the most tragic of circumstances, the best mother, grandmother and sister that anyone could possibly have.

“It is of some comfort for us to know that the man responsible for murdering Linda is being punished. We can only hope that he will never be able to inflict such sadness or put any other family through such a horrific ordeal. He has robbed us of a lifetime with Linda.”


Three men have been jailed for a total of 24 years for their parts in a serious assault that took place in Stonnall in December last year.

Tyrone Ford, 24, of Mill Gardens, Smethwick; Liam Ford, 27, of Old Hawne Lane, Halesowen and Aaron Brown-Williams, 31, of Houghton Rd, Grantham, Lincs had pleaded guilty to Section 18 wounding with intent and burglary at a hearing on 7 July at Stafford Crown Court.

Photo: Tyrone Ford
Tyrone Ford

They were sentenced at Stafford Crown Court on Friday (23 Oct).

Tyrone Ford was jailed for 12 years; Liam Ford for three years and Aaron Brown-Williams for nine years.

At around 8.30pm on 21 December 2014, the three broke into the flat of their victim, Dale Chilton, beat him and stabbed him in his torso before stealing some of his property and his car. Mr Chilton was treated in hospital for a fractured skull and a puncture wound to his chest. The attack had come as a result of a dispute over repayment of a debt.

Liam Ford
Liam Ford

Tyrone Ford was arrested later that evening in the West Midlands area. Liam Ford was arrested at his home address on 12 January 2015 and Aaron Williams avoided detention until 21 March when he was arrested in Grantham, Lincolnshire.

Aaron Brown-Williams
Aaron Brown-Williams

Staffordshire Police’s DI Lesley Fowler said: “The attack on Dale Chilton was vicious and had the potential to cause severe injuries to the victim. Tracing the three offenders involved a lot of time, effort and investigative skill. It also required a considerable amount of co-operation from other forces, for which we are grateful.

“These sentences show that we will not tolerate people who try to use violence to settle disputes and they will be brought before the courts, no matter how hard they try to avoid capture.”

Men jailed following the biggest single drugs seizure by Staffordshire Police

Two men have been jailed for over 10 years for bringing Class A drugs valued at almost £7m into Staffordshire.

Dave Van de Ven and Barry Briggs were sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court today, Friday.

Dave Van de Ven Jailed
Dave Van de Ven -Jailed

Van de Ven, aged 30, from Rotterdam, was jailed for six years and eight months. He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of being concerned in the importation of heroin and cocaine.

Barry Briggs – Jailed

Briggs, aged 43, from Seaforth Grove in Leeds, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the importation of heroin ahead of a trial starting. He was sentenced to five years.

The men were arrested on Wednesday 11 February when officers stopped two vehicles on the A52 in Cheadle.

drugs3 A search of the two vehicles, a HGV being driven by Van de Ven and a Renault van being driven by Briggs, led to the discovery of Class A drugs valued at almost £7m.

Staffordshire Police, together with the National Crime Agency, carried out a joint investigation after receiving information about the two men and their suspected involvement in drug supply.

The arrests were carried out under Operation Nemesis – the force’s commitment to tackling drug dealers and bringing them to justice.

The court heard Van de Ven, who was employed by a transport company in Holland, collected his trailer on February 10 with deliveries scheduled for several locations in England.

He arrived in England the following day, Wednesday 11 February, via ferry and continued his journey, not stopping until he reached a lay-by on the A50, in north Staffordshire.

Van de Ven was later observed at in Leek Road, Cheadle, where he met up with Briggs, who was driving a Renault Clio van and both were witnessed removing boxes from the rear of the lorry into the Renault Clio.

Both men were arrested a short time later.

drugs2A search of the van led to the recovery of the two boxes. Each box contained 15 individual packages of heroin, weighing around 1kg each. The drugs have since been valued at £5,750,000. (5 and ¾ million)

drugs seized by Staffordshire PoliceVan de Ven’s trailer was also searched. A box was recovered which contained 10 parcels of cocaine, each weighing 1kg each. These drugs are valued at £1.2million.

DI Lesley Fowler, who oversaw the investigation, said: “This was a significant seizure of class A drugs – the biggest Staffordshire Police has ever seized in one operation.

“Working closely with our colleagues at the National Crime Agency, we were able to stop a substantial amount of drugs entering the streets of Staffordshire.

“Today’s sentences are to be welcomed and send out a strong message – we will not tolerate drug dealing in our communities and will take positive action against those who do.

“On this occasion we had information which subsequently led to the arrest of both Van de Ven and Briggs.

“These men were clearly working together to bring drugs in to England for onward distribution.

“Their partnership was uncovered and we have stopped drugs getting onto our streets.

“Today marks yet another success under Operation Nemesis and further demonstrates that drug dealing and drugs misuse will not be tolerated in Staffordshire.”

NCA Car1 smlBrent Lyon from the National Crime Agency said: “This was a substantial amount of heroin – the largest seizure of Class A drugs ever made in the area.

“Van de Ven and Briggs clearly thought they were operating under the radar with this handover. But there are no hiding places, no safe locations, for those who try to bring drugs into our communities.

“Operations like this one are successful because of the close working relationship the NCA has with forces like Staffordshire.”