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‘Criminal’ to sue police for knife robbery arrest
10:30am Thursday 22nd August 2013 in News
A SELF-confessed “experienced criminal” who was cleared of an attempted knife-point robbery said he is going to sue the police for wrongful arrest.
Eamonn Anderson, of Salter Close, Oxford, was charged with one count of attempted robbery and one count of possessing an offensive weapon – a large kitchen knife.
In total, he has spent 24 years in prison for robbery and firearms offences and told the Oxford Mail in 2011 that violent offenders should get longer prison sentences.
The 53-year-old was arrested again this year following an incident at the Westgate Shop, which adjoins the Westgate Hotel in Botley Road, on March 17. A person wearing a hood was caught on CCTV footage entering the store and attempting to break into the till and safe – but without success.
During the three-day trial at Oxford Crown Court, Mr Anderson said whoever carried out the robbery “didn’t have a clue” and had made mistakes only an amateur criminal would make.
Yesterday a jury of seven men and five women took just two hours to find him not guilty.
The court heard Mr Anderson grew up in Brixton, South London, and spent eight years in prison in the 1980s for his part in nine bank robberies and firearms offences.
He has only been convicted once since 2009 and is now studying law, although during the trial he did admit to dealing Class A drugs at the time the offence was commited.
He told the jury during the trial that he wouldn’t have made the robber’s mistakes, such as not fully covering his face and only wearing one glove.
Joanna Durber, prosecuting, told the jury he had committed the crime after becoming “desperate” to get money quickly.
She said: “Giving evidence to you he was almost proud of the scale of his previous offending.
“Could it now be, that given the extent of his previous crimes, he is ashamed of doing such a bad job while he was out of his head on something or other?”
However, Jennifer Edwards, defending, said: “Mr Anderson says he would have had no reason, no desperate reason, to go and commit this silly crime and also that he had too much to lose.”
Speaking after the verdict, Mr Anderson said he felt he was being targeted by Thames Valley Police because of his criminal past.
He said: “I’m very happy to have been cleared of this offence, which I never committed in the first place.
“But just because I’ve got a criminal record the police won’t leave me alone.
“Now I’m going to go back to college and keep studying law – and you better believe I’m going to sue them for wrongful arrest.
“That’s for definite.”
Thames Valley Police declined to comment on Mr Anderson’s acquittal or comments.
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