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Robbery case dropped against women charged over £50,000 Asda cash box raid

A police van and security van in a taped off area in Asda car park Marina Way.
A police van and security van in a taped off area in Asda car park Marina Way.

Two women accused of robbery will be found not guilty after a judge ruled there is no evidence against them.

Yasmine Jaafri, 19, and 22-year-old Amy Walton are on trial for their alleged part in a £50,000 cash box robbery in Hartlepool.

The pair were alleged to have been involved in the robbery of a security guard as he left the Asda store in Marina Way.

Also on trial is 27-year-old Christopher Barnett.

Following legal submission at the close of the prosecution case, Judge Sean Morris ruled there was insufficient evidence against the women in relation to the robbery.

The pair still face charges of converting criminal property by going on a shopping spree with what prosecutors say was the cash from the box.

“It is the defence’s right in every case to make submissions at the close of the prosecution case,” Judge Morris told the jury.

“My decision is there is insufficient evidence against the women in relation to the robbery.

“Accordingly, I am directing you to find them each not guilty of robbery when you retire to consider your verdicts in the other charges the women still face.”

Defending barristers said all three defendants would not be giving evidence, and there would be no other defence witnesses.

Judge Morris asked the barristers to confirm they had advised the defendants the jury would be allowed to draw an adverse inference from them not giving evidence.

The barristers confirmed the defendants had been advised an adverse inference may be drawn.

In her closing speech to the jury, Jane Waugh, defending Barnett, said: “We have heard the person who snatched the cash box wore a balaclava, and there is no description at all of the driver of the getaway car.

“There is no identification evidence to say Mr Barnett was the robber or the getaway driver.”

The jury heard earlier the getaway car had been identified from CCTV footage as a Mitsubishi Shogun.

Prosecutors claim the Shogun used in the robbery was later found burned out in Station Town, close to where Barnett lives.

But Ms Waugh raised questions over whether the burned out car was the one used in the robbery.

Barnett, of Wood View, Trimdon Colliery, Jaafri, of Millbank Road, Hartlepool, and Walton, of St Oswald’s Street, Hartlepool, all deny robbery and converting criminal property.

The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdicts on Tuesday.

The case continues.