Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Cleared, Trio Accused of 'Robbery Plot' Which Saw Pal Shot Dead by Police ; Jury Takes an Hour to Reach Not Guilty Verdicts Family Hail 'Big Step' in Unlawful Killing Campaign

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Cleared, Trio Accused of 'Robbery Plot' Which Saw Pal Shot Dead by Police ; Jury Takes an Hour to Reach Not Guilty Verdicts Family Hail 'Big Step' in Unlawful Killing Campaign

Article excerpt

THREE men accused of plotting a robbery with a dad-of-two who was shot dead by police have been dramatically cleared.

Anthony Grainger, 36, died after firearms officers swooped on the stolen Audi he was in at a car park near Sainsbury's, in Culcheth, Warrington, on March 3. Two other men in the car, David Totton and Joseph Travers, were arrested at the scene and charged with conspiring to rob the supermarket and other targets in the region.

All three were wearing gloves and rolled up balaclavas on their heads at the time.

Another man, Robert Rimmer, 26, of Ainsworth Avenue, Moston, was arrested the following day, and stood trial at Manchester Crown Court along with Mr Totton, 33, of Rochdale Road, Manchester, and Mr Travers, 27, of no fixed address. It was alleged in the trial that a police surveillance operation had caught the men planning a job in which force would be used to rob Pounds 30,000.

But after an hour of deliberation, the jury cleared all three of conspiring to rob, a charge they had each denied.

The news was welcomed with jubilant shouts by supporters of the late Mr Grainger.

They had attended court through the trial, had protested outside about his killing and are hoping that criminal charges will be brought against officers involved in the operation.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is yet to publish its report into the circumstances of the shooting and it is not yet known if officers will face action.

But girlfriend Gail Hadfield, 30, from Bolton, said the decision to clear Mr Totton, Mr Travers and Mr Rimmer represented a 'massive breakthrough' in the family's campaign to prove Mr Grainger was unlawfully killed by police.

She said: "When I heard the verdict I got butterflies in my stomach. Throughout the whole trial the police have just been trying to cover their own backs.

"All along the police have been trying to make up their own version of what the lads were up to that day and this verdict has blown that out of the water. …

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