Do not ‘convict on speculation but on the evidence’ defence counsel tells jury in pensioner attack trial
Thursday 6th April 2017 @ 00:14 by Nigel P.
Ashton Community Hyde News Tameside

Two men facing charges relating to a brutal attack on a one legged pensioner in her own home in Ashton, heard their barristers making the final arguments for their defence yesterday,Wednesday, 5/4/16.

They were concluding the defence arguments  before  Judge Driver Q.C. commenced his summing up in the case of Liam O’Shaunessey and Steve Mortin, both from Hyde.

O’Shaughnessy is charged with conspiracy to rob Mrs Dransfield and Mortin with Conspiracy to rob and cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

Both men deny the charges at Minshull Street Crown Court, though Mortin agrees he was at the property when the attack took place.

However Mortin says the attack was carried out soley by another man, Nathan Lee Clarke who has already pleaded guilty.

Vanessa Thompson Defence Counsel for Stephen Mortin argued that her client did not take part in the physical attack that had inflicted the terrible  injuries on wheel chair bound, 63-year-old Grandmother, Barbara Dransfield, last July.

She maintained that her client assumed that he was on a burglary and not to collect a drug debt, as maintained by the prosecution.

She told the jury that Mrs Dransfield had been wrong about the presence of a second man armed with a knife, who allegedly said: “We will slice you”.

Ms Thompson told the jury that no threats were made by her client and no knife was produced by him,  that Mrs Dransfield had given different accounts of what happened and was understandably confused due to the trauma of the attack

She said: “Stephen Mortin went into the bedroom and ransacked it, but he was not present at the subsequent attack by his associate Clarke. ‘Mortin is in a different room and not privy to what was going on.”

Stephen Mortin had no idea what Clarke was doing to Mrs Dransfield and when he did, he said: “We are out of here and you won’t hit her one more time.”

Mortin lied in his first police interview then when found to be lying decided to respond with no comment.

“Yes he misled the police until recently, he told lies in the police station, but that does not make him guilty,” she added.

“He may have told lies for other reasons such as panic and confusion, police laid out photographs of Mrs Dransfield’s injuries in front of him.

“He was in a state not because he was guilty, but because he did not want to be associated with what had been done by another person to Mrs Dransfield.”

Miss Thompson said: “You have seen how he appeared agitated when giving evidence these are intimidating proceedings, please make allowances for that and judge him on the evidence.

“Did he have prior knowledge of intent to cause harm to Mrs Dransfield? I say no, he did not.”

Following a break for lunch it was the turn of Mr Saul Broady representing Liam O’Shaughnessy, depicted  by the prosecution as the key instigator of the attack, though he was not present at the time.

The Court has already heard that the victim’s son Daniel Dransfield, owed O’Shaunessy between £100 and £150 from a drug debt and O’Shaughnessy had been sending Daniel threatening texts.

Mr Broady for O’Shaunessy said: “The only reason he is in the dock is because he sent threatening texts to Daniel Dransfield.

“He fully admits some are not very pleasant, he has never shied away from that. But other facts in the case point to his innocence.

“He has had no contact with Clarke or any of the others involved in the car on the night of the attack, they are not his friends he never contacted any of them on Social Media.”

There was some reference that he knew Mortin’s brother – they grew up on the same estate and defence counsel said: ‘The person trying to create a link with the others was a police employee with “no special skill’s  in Social Media he came up with the links.”

“His computer did not even allow access to Facebook.

“As for the four in the car (that went to the Dransfield home on the night of the attack) he was not in contact, had no means of communication, no reference or history of calls between them.

“One or another of this four might have mentioned him, they do not.

“There is no mention of him they are arguing between themselves nobody blames him.

“Is this  because he is such an controlling figure?

“Of course not, you saw him giving evidence. He was charged on the circumstance of what happened on the 19th of July and the conjecture and speculation, are out of all proportion to a cannabis debt of modest level expectations.

“The two attackers went well equipped for something other than £150. Was he really going to put her through that to get £150?

“Barbara Dransfield never said anything about a debt and there was no mention of a debt or £150 (in her evidence).

“Daniel Dransfield”  said Mr Broady: “was a man who had brought trouble to his own family, he owed money and he is giving drug dealers the run around.”

In the week up to the 19th (attack) there were three other people waiting for their money, one sent a message ‘you better pay up or I will be at your door tomorrow’.

He said: “It could have been anyone, he (Daniel) considered the threats from O’Shaunessy as empty and it was not him, but the police that put two and two together.

“Have these other scenarios been  eliminated?”

He concluded by saying: “Police have created a scenario based on suspicion and speculation and speculation is no substitute for evidence.

“The standard of guilt in these courts is very high, he is only guilty if you are sure.”

“His defence in evidence was “I simply had nothing to do with it” I suggest this prosecution is misguided.

“Are you sure that he entered into an agreement with the attackers, there is no evidence of him going into any such agreement.

“If you are not sure then he is not guilty”.