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Jury takes 10 minutes to clear man of Buckley raid

Published date: 19 February 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A MAN has been cleared of a terrifying attempted robbery at a shop.

A jury at Mold Crown Court took just 10 minutes to decide Kieron Morgan, 22, was not guilty.

Morgan had denied attempted robbery and possessing a knife in Buckley and claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.

In his closing speech Andrew Downey, defending, had told the jury that honest and genuine people could make errors with identification and great care was needed.

There was no other supporting evidence – no DNA, for example, had been taken from the counter where the knifeman had stood – and he said the victim of what was a terrifying incident had mistaken a former regular customer for the ‘Goth-like man’ who had told her to fill a bag with tobacco and money.

When the verdict was announced Judge Niclas Parry told Morgan, of Cilcain Road, Pantymwyn, who had been on bail throughout, he could be discharged from the dock.

Victim Catherine McArdle said she pressed the panic button and swore at a man, who looked like a Goth.

She recognised him as a customer and even went to get his brand of tobacco as he came in, she said.

Giving evidence  Mrs McArdle, 69, said: “God forgive me, but I told him to p*** off.”

The robber ran out of The Centre Point Store in Buckley, when the alarm sounded in January 2012, she said.

Mrs McArdle said she was working alone at the time and did not believe the man would have tried to rob her if it was someone younger on duty.

He entered the store with his hood up, he stood with his back towards her, showed her a knife, placed a plastic bag on the counter and told her to fill it with money and tobacco.

Mrs McArdle later picked Morgan out during a video identification procedure.

She said it was over in 20 seconds and agreed that she would have seen his face for 10 seconds, but she had no doubt that she had picked the right man.

Mr Downey suggested she had made a mistake and had wrongly identified a customer as the perpetrator.

He said his client did not use the tobacco Mrs McArdle had attributed to him.

Morgan, who had lived at various addresses in Buckley but was now living in Pantymwyn, said it was not him.

Giving evidence Morgan said that while the would-be robber was said to have a clear complexion he had suffered with spots since he was aged 14.

At the time of the attempted robbery he was living in Buckley and the first he knew he was being accused of attempted robbery was when he was arrested at a friend’s house in the town in May 2012.

At the time of the robbery he had been at the house and was communicating with his girlfriend on Twitter.

He had not been in the shop for about a year before, he said, and claimed he had been banned for buying cigarettes for under age youngsters. Before then he had been a regular customer.

The complainant had described him as a Goth but Morgan said he had never had his nails painted black as described. Asked about his hair, he said he did dye his hair brown or black.

He would not describe himself as a Goth, he said although he knew a couple of people who looked like Goths.

Emmalyne Downing, prosecuting, produced a photograph of the defendant at the time of the offence two years ago and said it showed he had a clear complexion apart from a couple of spots, and he had his hair in a bob as described by the complainant.

The description of the knifeman did fit him at the time, she said.

But Morgan said that he could bring half a dozen other people who looked like him in Buckley.

He agreed he had moved between the date of the robbery and his arrest but denied he had got rid of a brown anorak during that time.

He agreed that using Twitter on a smart phone meant that he could have done it from any location.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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