Not guilty verdict in pensioner robbery trial

Victim Alice Turner.
Victim Alice Turner.
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A man has been cleared of taking part in a robbery where a great grandma was tied to her own stairlift.

Joseph Harkin, 55, was found not guilty after a trial at Preston Crown Court.

Mr Harkin, of Keswick Road, Lancaster, had denied any involvement in the robbery at the home of pensioner Alice Turner.

Mrs Turner, 74, had to chew through the tape to escape and alert police.

The disabled great grandmother had six money boxes containing £750 stolen during her ordeal at her home in Morecambe.

Geoffrey Garth, 61, of Patterdale Road, Lancaster, had already pleaded guilty to robbery.

Garth, Mr Harkin’s stepfather, gave evidence that the defendant was not involved.

When prosecutor Neville Biddle asked why Harkin’s phone had been used to ring the address the night before the robbery and shortly before the robbery, Garth said he made the calls using Mr Harkin’s phone.

The court also heard, in a police interview about the alleged offence, Mr Harkin said: “There’s no way whatsoever I tied an old woman to her stairlift.

“My mum is 73 and there’s no way in this world.”

Mrs Turner was threatened with having her finger cut off in the attack less than a week before Christmas 2013.

She was left with badly bruised arms and wrists after the robbery in which a handbag containing a photograph of her late husband, Albert, was also taken.