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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Barrow man found not guilty of taking part in rake threat flat break-in

A 26-YEAR-OLD man has been cleared of being part of a duo who allegedly smashed their way into a flat and threatened a schoolgirl while brandishing a rake.

Daniel Nigel Miller appeared for trial at Furness Magistrates’ Court yesterday accused of the offence, which the 16-year-old said left her terrified.

He was found not guilty of using violence for the purpose of securing entrance to a property knowing someone was present on January 10.

The prosecution alleged that the teenager’s casual boyfriend – who was in his mid 20s – fled the flat as the pair smashed through the rear door and was later found by police in a nearby phone box wearing just his socks and a T-shirt.

Mr Peter Kelly, prosecuting, explained how the incident kicked off about 12.30am as the teenager and her then partner watched horror film Saw in the dark.

He said the teenager’s boyfriend had gone to the toilet, and added: “There was then a lot of banging at the back door which got louder and louder. Her boyfriend ran past her and out of the front door without saying anything and then the two men came into the living room.”

Taking the stand, the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, described events.

She said: “One of them had a rake and they asked me where my boyfriend was very aggressively. I was really, really scared. I didn’t know what was going to happen.

“There was a guy stood there with a rake and another who I recognised as Danny Miller. Their faces were very close to me and they said if I didn’t tell them where he was they were going to smash my face in.”

Taking the witness stand, defended by Mr Michael Graham, Mr Miller said he had never even met the girl and that he had been at his home in Devon Street, Barrow, all night alone. He added that she was mistaken.

Presiding magistrate Mr Bob Fletcher said although they believed the teenager was an honest witness, the speed of what happened and the fact it was dark meant that it couldn’t be proved beyond doubt that Mr Miller was one of the men involved and found him not guilty.

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