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Posted on Monday 7 June 2021
Riley and Balfour
Two people have been jailed for perverting the course of justice following the death of a man in Blackhall.

John Littlewood, 36, was murdered while he slept at his home in Blackhall Colliery in July 2019.

Marty Bates was given a life sentence last month after admitting the murder of Mr Littlewood, known as John D, and will serve a minimum of 24 years behind bars.

And today, James Riley, 31 and Donna Balfour 36, were both sentenced at Teesside Crown Court.

Riley, of Ninth Street, Blackhall, pleaded guilty to intending to pervert the course of justice, witness intimidation, and assault. He was jailed for a total of three years and six months.

Balfour pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by interfering with her home CCTV system in an attempt to delete footage.

She was sentenced to a total of two years and five months in prison.

Detective Superintendent Kevin Weir, who led the investigation, said: “Nothing can bring John D back but I hope these sentences give his family some closure and comfort.

“The investigation into John D’s murder was complex and involved dozens of specialist officers who worked tirelessly to make sure the culprits were found so I know the whole team will be pleased knowing their hard work helped bring Bates, Riley and Balfour to justice.”

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