A JURY took less than half an hour to clear a man of attempted robbery in a case of mistaken identity.
A court had heard a man’s arm was broken and his partner was knocked to the ground during a terrifying raid at their home near Wrexham.
One man demanded money at the house at Rhos while two others stood outside by the door.
Victim Ben Jones tried to defend himself and grabbed the intruder. That man shouted to his colleagues and one came running in, brandishing a bat.
He struck Mr Jones’ partner, Ceri Thurrock, knocking her to the ground.
Jayne La Grua, prosecuting at Mold Crown Court, said as he raised his bat again, Mr Jones went to protect her but the bat came down and broke his arm.
All three men fled empty-handed.
Lee William Osbourne, 29, of Upton Road, Moreton, Wirral – alleged by the prosecution to have been the first man to enter the house in Pen y Wern last August – denied attempting to rob Mr Jones of money and his car keys.
He said it was a case of mistaken identity and he had not been at the house that night. A jury delivered a unanimous not guilty verdict.
Miss La Grua said Mr Jones was sitting on the sofa at about 9pm when he heard the back door open. She said he looked up and saw Osbourne, a man he had met three or four days earlier.
It was claimed Osbourne immediately demanded money, but Mr Jones said he did not have any. The intruder then demanded his car keys.
Mr Jones refused, the intruder became agitated and threw a punch at him.
The prosecutor said Mr Jones dodged that punch, grabbed hold of the man and held him up against a kitchen cupboard.
As Ms Thurrock arrived in the kitchen, one of the other men rushed in and struck her with a bat.
Mr Jones put his arm out to protect her and that was when his arm was broken. She was screaming, there was a lot of shouting and Mr Jones was able to get the men out of his home.
“He picked up anything he could lay his hands on and threw it at them,” Miss La Grua said.
At one stage he picked up a chair and struck one of the intruders on the head with it, breaking it in the process.
Once he got them out of the property he locked the door and heard one of the men shout they would be back.
Police and ambulance arrived and Mr Jones was taken to hospital.
“It was a short but frightening attempted robbery at the complainant’s own home,” the prosecutor said.
At about 1am the following day Osbourne went to the local police station to report he had been the victim of theft.
Police later circulated him as wanted and he was arrested last November.
Osbourne said he had been in Wrexham on a night out and went to Rhos to collect some belongings at a friend’s home.
He had been “jumped” in the street at about 1am but he said he had been nowhere near Mr Jones’ home and had certainly not taken part in any robbery.