Man accused of threatening to chop drug dealer’s head off with machete is cleared by jury

Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court

A MAN accused of robbing a drug dealer while armed with a foot-long machete has been cleared.

Kevin Rowbotham, 28, was alleged to have turned up at the pill pusher’s front door at night with the weapon.

He was accused of taking cash from Benjamin Arnold in Kimberley Street, Hartlepool, and threatening to “cut his head off” if Mr Arnold did not give him more.

Mr Rowbotham was also accused of taking Mr Arnold’s Blackberry phone by snatching it out of his hand,

But he was found not guilty yesterday after a trial at Teesside Crown Court.

Mr Rowbotham was cleared of charges of robbery and possession of an offensive weapon in public.

The court heard from Mr Arnold who ran to a Londis shop in Elwick Road after claiming he had been robbed by Mr Rowbotham with the machete.

A shop worker pulled the store shutters down and called the police.

Mr Arnold, 28, told police: “There’s a lad with a knife trying to kill me.

“He has a machete with him. Could you please hurry because he’s in my house.

“I’ve had to run out the house.”

Armed police, the force helicopter and numerous officers attended the report.

But no machete was ever recovered by police despite searching numerous properties where Mr Rowbotham was known to stay.

Mr Rowbotham, of Colwyn Road, Hartlepool, admitted shouting at Mr Arnold in the street when he went to collect some car key’s from his girlfriend’s address.

But he denied going into Mr Arnold’s house, robbing him or having a machete.

Mr Rowbotham said he had an earlier confrontation with Mr Arnold when he tried to buy some diazepam pills from him and claimed Mr Arnold tried to rip him off.

Mr Arnold, 28, admitted to selling diazepam pills from his home at the time, but said he does not now.