Three cleared over robbery plot

Salisbury Journal: Anthony Grainger, 36, died of a single gunshot wound fired by an armed police officer (IPCC/PA) Anthony Grainger, 36, died of a single gunshot wound fired by an armed police officer (IPCC/PA)

Three men have been cleared of plotting a robbery with a father-of-two who was shot dead by police.

Anthony Grainger, 36, died of a single gunshot wound to the chest after the vehicle he was in was stopped in a car park in the village of Culcheth, Cheshire, on March 3.

Armed officers swooped on the stolen Audi in a "pre-planned operation" as an officer fired a bullet which passed through the windscreen and hit Mr Grainger.

His associates, David Totton, 33, and Joseph Travers, 27, were arrested at the scene wearing balaclavas rolled up on their heads. Another man, Robert Rimmer, 26, was arrested the following day.

Mr Totton, of Rochdale Road, Manchester, Mr Travers, of no fixed address, and Mr Rimmer, of Ainsbrook Avenue, New Moston, were found not guilty on Friday of conspiracy to rob by a jury at Manchester Crown Court.

The prosecution claimed the trio were part of a team who scouted for locations to rob large amounts of cash. The men, including Mr Grainger, were allegedly linked to the movement of two stolen cars, the Audi and a BMW, through police surveillance, phone evidence and CCTV. The vehicles were said to have been used to carry out reconnaissance on a G4S cash delivery van depot in Stoke-on-Trent in January.

The jury was told that Mr Grainger was shot by police but the circumstances surrounding his death were not relevant to the issues in the case. Giving evidence, Mr Totton denied he was in Culcheth to plan a robbery and was instead helping Mr Grainger retrieve £10,000 owed by a local man.

A campaign group, Justice4Grainger, regularly held protests outside court during the trial and handed out leaflets to the public. The protesters complained that Mr Grainger had been indicted into the trial without the right to defend himself.

His mother, Marina, has said she wants the firearms officer who shot her son to be charged with murder. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating his death and will pass on its finding to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider the evidence.

Following the verdict, Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: "As there is an independent investigation into police actions being carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is pertinent to the case that was brought to court, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

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