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Thursday, 28 August 2014

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Cumbrian robbery trial hears mobile phone call details

Mobile phone experts were quizzed by lawyers in the trial of two brothers accused of robbery.

Related: ‘Drug dealer’ made up car snatch claim, Cumbrian court told

Russell Roberts, 29, of Dent Place, Cleator Moor and Jonathan Roberts, 24, of Gillfoot Road, Egremont, have been accused of robbing Jonathan Nicholson of his car after dragging him from the driver’s seat.

A police detective and an independent consultant were both asked if a call from a phone belonging to one of the brothers could have been made from the street where the alleged incident took place.

This was Clayton Avenue, Cleator Moor. Mr Nicholson has said this took place shortly after 2pm on May 3 last year.

A phone call was made from one of the brother’s mobile phones at 2.11pm this day and was picked up by a phone mast in Whitehaven. However, calls made from mobiles on this street should have been picked up by a mast actually located in Cleator Moor.

Another call from this phone, made nine minutes later, was picked up at Cleator Moor while another at 2.29pm was picked up by the Whitehaven mast.

Thomas Marriot, a forensic scientist, had taken equipment to the street and measure the mobile signals relative to the two masts. He had tried to recreate the circumstances of the day of the arrest. He told the court, after being questioned by defence barrister David Birrell: “According to my reading the telephone would not have been allowed to connect.”

Brendan Burke, prosecuting, asked if a car travelling at speed could have moved soon from the street into an area that would connect to the Whitehaven mast.

Mr Marriot replied that he thought this would be possible.

Earlier, Detective Constable Nigel Harling of the serious and organised crime unit, who was also appearing as an expert witness, had said that there would be an are of overlap between the two masts.

Transcriptions of the police’s interviews with the brothers were read to the jury during the trial.

Both have pleaded not guilty to robbery. The trial continues.

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