Halloween party-goer fled gang

A HALLOWEEN party-goer’s first visit to Hartlepool saw him being nabbed for drink-driving when he fled an armed gang who left him fearing for his life.

Lee John Pullen had started a relationship with a Hartlepool woman and had come to the town to attend a Halloween party with her.

The 35-year-old had been drinking at the bash, when a group of men – believed to be linked to his new partner’s ex – turned up armed with weapons including batons.

The defendant, who “feared for his safety”, got into his car and drove, leaving the town on the A689 Stockton Road where he collided with a parked and unattended vehicle near Greatham village.

Prosecuting, Joanne Hesse told justices that police attended and tests showed he was twice the drink-drive limit with 74 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Pullen, of Moorview Grove, Keighley, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to drink driving on October 30, last year.

Mitigating, Paul Fitzgerald said: “My client was effectively a visitor to the area and it was the first time he had ever driven into Hartlepool.

“He’d started a relationship with a lady who lives in Hartlepool. She had been involved in a recent acrimonious breakdown of a previous relationship, and a group of people arrived at this party bent on causing problems.

“The householder called the police who dispersed the troublemakers, but it would seem that in the early hours they returned.

“A car arrived and a number of men got out armed with weapons, such as clubs. Mr Pullen was outside the house but was nearer his car than the door of the house and he took the view that the quickest way of getting out of there was to get in the car.

“Not really knowing where he was, he aimed for a landmark he could remember, the Premier Inn, on the way into Hartlepool. He didn’t know anywhere else.”

He added: “He was caught and he was over the limit. What he should have done was as soon as it was safe to do so was stop the car.

“He has come up from Keighley to face the music.”

Chairman of the bench Peter Charlton adjourned sentencing Pullen until May 11 for the Probation Service to carry out a pre-sentence report. He released Pullen on unconditional bail.