An east Belfast man was today acquitted of stealing jewellery from a pensioner.
Since his arrest last June right up to giving evidence at his trial this week, 26-year-old Daniel Brown consistenly denied stealing items valued at around £5,000 from the woman’s jewellery box.
Mr Brown, from Willowfield Gardens, always made the case that he went to the pensioner’s home at her request to bag up old clothes for cash, but neither saw her jewellery box nor stole items from it.
It took the jury around 40 minutes to return a unanimous “not guilty” verdict on a clearly-relieved Mr Brown.
During a three-day trial held at Belfast Crown Court, the jury heard that Mr Brown met the 70-year-old woman at a car boot sale at a church in the Bloomfield area of east Belfast on May 30, 2015.
On that day, Mr Brown was running a stall selling second-hand clothing, and after the pair struck up a conversation, she told him she would be interested in selling some old clothing for cash. Mr Brown called to her home three days later, and collected clothes from her bedroom.
The pensioner said that later that day she noticed her jewellery box had been moved, and that various items – including seven rings, a pair of gold earrings and a gold watch – were missing.
Mr Brown – who was represented in court by barrister Denis Boyd – was arrested and completely denied either seeing the jewellery box or stealing items from it. He first made this case during interview, and continued these denials whilst giving evidence during his trial at Belfast Crown Court.
During the trial, the jury also heard the case against the accused was “circumstantial” and that there was no forensic evidence to link Mr Brown to the theft.
He stood trial earlier this year, when a jury was unable to reach a verdict. Following this “hung jury” verdict, Mr Brown was re-tried this week – and after less than an hour of deliberations, he was acquitted of theft.
Following his acquittal, Brown was told he was free to leave court by Judge Patricia Smyth.