Knife point terror ride
Hamish Hutchinson • Published 6 Jul 2012 09:00
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GUILTY: Marcus Hunter used blade to demand cash from car driver.
A DRIVER was subjected to a 10-minute terror ride through Clackmannanshire by a knife-wielding robber, Alloa Sheriff Court heard.
Passenger Marcus Hunter (17), pictured, held a four-inch blade at Alan Dobson's neck and demanded cash.
After the 26-year-old said he had none, Hunter kept the knife trained on him as he drove from Tullibody to Sauchie. When Mr Dobson arrived at his gran's house in Abbeycraig Road, Hunter held on to his car keys as "collateral" while he went in for cash.
Once inside the police were called and Hunter and his accomplice scarpered, dropping the keys in a drain and throwing the knife on top of a garage.
Hunter, of Newbiggin Crescent, Tullibody, was found guilty by an unanimous verdict when he appeared on trial in front of a jury last week.
He denied, on 22 November last year, whilst acting with another, attempting to rob Mr Dobson between Wallace View, Tullibody and Abbeycraig Road, Sauchie. He further denied stealing a set of car keys.
Hunter's solicitor Jim Savage lodged a special defence that the offence was committed by Alexander Sinclair - Hunter's accomplice, who had initially been charged with the offence, but which was later dropped by the Crown.
Mr Dobson, a digger driver, said that at about 6pm Hunter, whom he had known for just eight months through a friend, and Mr Sinclair (19) came to his door in Clackmannan and asked for a lift into Tullibody.
He said, "They asked me to take them to Tullibody to pick up something from a friend. We got to Tullibody and we went up to a derelict bit and he said stop here.
"Then Marcus pulled out the knife. He was sitting in the front passenger seat. He said 'I need money'. I said I didn't have any on me, I need to phone my nan and get money off her."
They drove for 10 minutes to Mr Dobson's gran's house in Sauchie - all the while Hunter had the knife in his lap.
Mr Dobson went on, "He asked me to leave my car keys in the car. I went into my nan's. I told my nan and she said to phone the police. I kept in the house and called my best friend, Alistair Kerr. I never saw them (Hunter and Sinclair) after I went in the house."
He told the court he felt "shocked" by the events and denied suggestions by defence agent Jim Savage that he was making up events.
Mr Savage questioned why Mr Dobson, in his police statement, said the knife was held at his neck the whole journey when in court he said it was in Hunter's lap. He said, "Why are there such differences here? Could it be it's not true?" To which Mr Dobson replied, "It is true."
Mr Dobson's grandmother Anne Dawson (73) said she saw Hunter from her window.
She said, "He was sitting in the front seat of my grandson's car with his feet on the pavement, staring at me. I looked to study his face and waited until my husband shouted in."
She said her grandson asked for money - "I said I was not paying ransom money to get your car key back."
Mr Savage questioned her recollection and asked whether she had been informed of what happened since.
She said, "No. I make my mind up about things. I don't let anyone tell me what to think or anything."
Mr Dobson's friend, Alistair Kerr (19), an HGV mechanic apprentice, told the court Mr Dobson seemed "very distressed" on the phone.
He said he drove to Sauchie and when he arrived he saw Hunter and Mr Sinclair leave the car and run off towards the play park.
Alexander Sinclair, appearing as a witness for the prosecution, said he could not remember the events as he was "spaced out" on valium.
However, fiscal depute Sue Ruta played a video-recorded police interview of Sinclair which confirmed his involvement and pointed the blame at Hunter.
Detective constable David Ramage, who interviewed Mr Sinclair, said, "He informed us during that interview the whereabouts of the knife and set of car keys. The knife was found on a garage roof in Sauchie. The keys were found in a drain in Alloa."
A submission of "no case to answer" by the defence was repelled and after a short deliberation the jury found Hunter guilty.
Sheriff David Mackie deferred sentence for reports until 2 August and Hunter was remanded in custody.
This article appeared in Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser 04 Jul 12
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