Hartlepool MP’s outrage as siege thug gets just a caution

Police  arrest Mark Howe
Police arrest Mark Howe

A THUG with a shocking record of knife violence who sparked a three-hour armed siege has amazingly escaped with just a caution for his crime.

Today Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said he was “outraged” by the decision and intends to write to the Lord Chancellor calling for a review.

Gun cops swooped on Mark Howe’s home after a desperate 999 call from a woman – knowing he had a history of using knives, abuse, and violence.

After a three-hour stand-off with a dozen officers and a police helicopter hovering overhead police stormed the house and Howe was arrested.

He was given a police caution for the assault – but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) chose not to pursue the affray charge and he was released without further punishment.

Howe, 27, has an appalling record of domestic abuse and even held his own mum at knifepoint during one terrifying episode for which was given a jail term.

Police have made repeated calls to his home in Innes Road, Hartlepool, after complaints of domestic violence against his long-term partner.

But despite this, emergency response from armed police officers, police dogs and handlers, the force helicopter, a police negotiator, and a team of uniformed officers and vehicles Howe has somehow escaped with a mere “slap on the wrist”.

Mr Wright said: “I’m genuinely shocked, angry and outraged by this deicision. This is lenient in the extreme. People must have faith in the judicial system and this decision makes a mockery of that system, bearing in mind his appalling record and the huge costs of the operation to apprehend this man.”

“I shall be writing to the CPS with a view to the fact that the decision they have made is incorrect and I am minded to write to the Lord Chancellor asking him to examine this decision further.”

Police officers said they had no choice to respond the way they did after receiving a 999 call to the end–terraced property at 6.25am on Sunday.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Our absolute priority was safety of the public, of officers and of the suspect himself and a number of resources were deployed to ensure no harm came to any party.

“The incident was brought to a safe and satisfactory conclusion.

“It is routine, whenever any kind of weapon is believed or known to be involved, to deploy armed response officers.

“The dog section is also a very useful resource in fast moving and volatile incidents like this one.

“Given the intelligence and information available to officers at the outset and the challenges they faced as the incident unfolded, we believe it was policed proportionately and extremely efficiently.”

In March 2011, Howe was jailed for nine months for holding his terrified mum and partner Kate Williamson at knifepoint.

The incident was sparked after a heavy drinking session when Howe poured cold water over his sleeping girlfriend, before dragging her around by her hair and putting her and his mum though the horror knife ordeal.

He had to be Tasered twice by police to contain before he could be arrested.

In December 2010, Howe was given a 26-week jail term, suspended for 12 months after an affray in which he threatened his own mum with a knife and he had to be Tasered by police.

Earlier that year, Howe was given another six-month sentence, suspended for a year for affray, after threatening to kill a policeman after officers attended another domestic violence call to his home and arrived to find Howe again waving a knife.

But despite his previous and the response to the recent threat, he still escaped further punishment.

The Cleveland Police spokeswoman added; “The suspect’s individual circumstances, as well as background information, were taken into account when dealing with him after arrest.

“We will look into any outstanding issues or concerns with the help of our partner agencies and offer whatever help or support is necessary.”

A CPS spokesman said they were unable to comment at this time.