Terminally ill dad’s cancer meds stolen after duo break into County Durham home

Cancer medicine belonging to a terminally ill father was stolen after a man and woman broke into his home and assaulted those inside.

Shaun Okane, 36, and Leanne Chilton, 27, showed up at the man’s home in Sacriston in the early hours of December 16 last year, before entering and wreaking havoc inside. A teenage girl was attacked as Chilton demanded drugs before they both fled when police arrived.

On Thursday, Okane and Chilton appeared at Teesside Crown Court to be sentenced for affray. Chilton was also convicted of assault and Okane was convicted of receiving stolen property. They both admitted the charges the week their trial was due to begin.

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Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said the plaintiff was staying at his terminally ill father’s home, with his teenage niece and another woman. All three slept downstairs and helped care for the cancer patient, who slept in a chair in the living room, the court heard.

But around 3am they were awakened by a loud noise from the back kitchen window and the son went to investigate. Mr Dryden said: “He found two women outside the property, one of whom was Chilton. She and the other woman were repeatedly knocking on the window, causing a disturbance. It was suggested that Chilton had told her ‘tell your daughter out here’. The man had no idea what she was talking about. He opened the door slightly to tell them to be quiet, but then they forced their way into the property.

Mr Dryden said Chilton and the other unknown woman were ‘pushing and kicking’ at the door, before hitting the man all over the body and hitting him in the head with ‘something hard’ . The court heard that the women were shouting “where are the drugs, we know you are selling them”. At this point, Okane – who knew the man who had been assaulted – showed up at the scene and told the women that the man was not selling drugs.



Leanne Chilton, 27, was jailed for 24 months

However, Chilton – who had taken seven pregabalin tablets and cocaine – and the other woman did not calm down and “continued to be aggressive”. It was then that Okane also began “repeatedly punching” the man in the face, “spitting” his nose, before they all made their way into the dining room. The man’s teenage niece was later threatened and assaulted by Chilton as she tried to call the police. Mr Dryden said the teenager was ‘repeatedly hit in the head with something hard’ and sustained injuries – she was so terrified she ‘lost control of her bladder’.

Chilton and Okane then went to the living room, where the terminally ill man was resting. He was then pushed by Chilton and the other woman as he tried to call the police and was also hit in the head with something he thought was a “heavy object”. Some of the victims fled the house and the police were eventually contacted successfully, but the intruders were gone by the time officers arrived.

Mr Dryden said morphine medication belonging to the terminally ill man and used to treat his cancer was stolen from the home during the incident. Officers then proceeded to Okane’s home where he was found to be ‘completely incapacitated’ after consuming the drugs that had been removed from the house. Mr Dryden said: ‘The defendants were questioned, denied any wrongdoing and effectively blamed themselves.



Shaun Okane was jailed for 24 months
Shaun Okane was jailed for 24 months

The court heard Okane, of Joicey Gardens, Stanley, had 33 previous convictions for 60 offenses and was jailed in 2018 for burglary. Chilton, of Auckland House, Chester-le-Street, had 32 previous offenses on her record, including assault and battery and a racially aggravated offense for which she was sentenced to 28 days in jail.

Liam O’Brien, defending Okane, said he had reached an age where he “wanted to finally change his life” and said “the saddest thing about this case is that he had made progress towards that goal”. He said: ‘He made the foolish decision to get involved in this altercation at the complainants’ home. He said he had started taking big steps to get his life back on track but was “disappointed” in himself. Mr O’Brien added: “He can’t believe he’s done anything to send him back to square one. He’s a man with difficulties in his life and mental health issues, anxiety and depression.”

Ms Miller, defending Chilton – who is a mother of five – said it was accepted she was “under the influence of illicit substances” at the time. She said: “In her own words, it was her own stupidity and an incident that quickly escalated and went far beyond anything expected. She expresses that she is ashamed and that she is shy.” She added that Chilton had had a ‘very traumatic life’ and described herself as a ‘rebellious child’ and left school at 14 when she was pregnant.

Sentencing the couple, Judge Chris Smith, said there had been “serious and sustained violence”, as well as serious injury and distress. He said: “It was a horrible episode of unlawful violence in someone’s home.” Both Okane and Chilton were jailed for 24 months.

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