Detective criticises first probe

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A POLICE investigation into a suspected robbery was “poorly led”, a court heard.

John Robinson, 24, is standing trial after denying that he forced his way into a 74-year-old man’s home before threatening him and stabbing him in the hand.

Teesside Crown Court heard police were called to the house shortly after the alleged incident at 11pm on Sunday, November 7, but did not follow it up after recording it as a “none crime” on their log.

Three days later the alleged victim’s daughter rang up to say her dad was still wanting to press charges and Detective Constable Jason MacTaggart took the case on.

He told the jury yesterday: “In my opinion the original investigation was poorly led and it was re-investigated by myself.”

He added: “The initial officer attended the scene and spoke to the complainant, and the officer did not believe what had taken place.”

The pensioner had claimed an intruder tried to sell him a car radio after inquiring about buying his camper van and mobility scooter, before becoming violent when he refused.

A “pristine” car radio and a black bin bag that were found in the pensioner’s house were sent away for forensic tests and Robinson’s fingerprint was found on the bag.

But Det Con MacTaggart said a knife and scissors that the alleged victim said might have been used as weapons were not sent for forensic analysis as “advice was taken from our forensic squad that nothing would be found on those items”.

Under questioning yesterday, Robinson said the fingerprint would be on the bag as he had given the radio to the man’s family “a few days” before November 7, when he claims to have sold them a pram for £4.

Robinson, of Windermere Road, admitted he was a heroin user, describing himself as a “smack head”, and sold stolen goods to fund his habit.

But he denied ever meeting the alleged victim and going to his house in the centre of town, claiming he was in bed at the time of the attack after taking several sleeping tablets that afternoon.

Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, accused Robinson of creating a story to explain why his fingerprint was on a bag inside a house he denies being in.

He said: “If you admitted you had been in possession of the radio and the bag on that day that would put you at the address. What happened was you left them there when you ran out, didn’t you?”

Robinson replied: “No. It’s not true.”

The trial continues.