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Killer Dean English jailed for breaking into homes and dealing drugs to cops in undercover sting

Dean English.
Dean English.

Two men have been jailed for a total of more than eight years for a series of burglaries.

Dean English and Colin Rutherford targeted three houses on the same day, stealing cash, jewellery and electrical items.

Colin Rutherford.

Colin Rutherford.

English was also caught five times dealing heroin to undercover cops, Durham Crown Court heard.

Both men have more than 100 previous convictions each.

English, 37, who was known as a youth as the Singing Defective, has offended regularly since he was a youth, amassing 77 convictions prior to 2004 when he was sentenced to nine years in prison for causing the death by dangerous driving of 15-year-old Ian Gourley.

English, driving a stolen car, killed Ian as he played on open ground in Peterlee.

"That sentence marks a gap in English's offending history," prosecutor Chris Baker told the court.

"The current drugs offences relate to a test-purchase operation carried out by undercover police earlier this year.

"English supplied an officer on five occasions with either one or two £10 wraps of heroin of between 19% and 22% purity.

"Many others were arrested in that operation, English is the first to be dealt with."

English and Rutherford burgled or attempted to burgle three houses on the same day.

"The attempt was at a house in Shadforth," said Mr Baker.

"A shed was broken into, and a ladder taken from the shed and propped up outside the house to prepare for entry.

"The householder returned to find Rutherford at the foot of the ladder and another man at the top.

"They ran off, but not before the householder was able to take their photograph."

English and Rutherford burgled a house in Belmont, Durham City, by taking a crow bar from a shed and using it to force a bathroom window.

"They ransacked the property," said Mr Baker.

"A watch valued at £970 and some jewellery was taken.

"Their next target was a house in Sherburn, which they entered via an upstairs window.

"The householder returned, heard noises, and called the police.

"Both men fled, but were arrested after a short chase through a nearby cornfield."

English, of Ninth Street, Horden, admitted four charges of supplying class A drugs, and he admitted two charges of burglary.

Rutherford, 42, of Fairbairn Road, Peterlee, admitted attempted burglary and two charges of burglary.

All of the offences took place in June and July of this year.

Martin Scarborough, for Rutherford, cut short his mitigation when Judge Jonathan Carroll indicated the sentence would be under three years.

Ian West, for English, said his sentence was a 'question of totality'.

"There was no actual harm done by the drug dealing because it was supply to undercover police officers," added Mr West.

Judge Carroll jailed English for 69 months, and the judge jailed Rutherford for 32 months.

The judge told the pair: "By doing these burglaries not only did you take away your victim's property, but also their sense of security and well being.

"Burglary is not just a crime of property, each of your victims was seriously impacted, but that's something persistent burglars such as you two don't appear to give a damn about.

"Neither do I accept the proposition that the drug dealing by English was harmless.

"Communities are profoundly harmed by the street level selling of drugs, which is why police have to be deployed to stop it."