Ipswich/Hollesley: Prisoner suspected of having £5,000 from robbery while on day release at Ipswich Town Football Club could not be prosecuted
PUBLISHED: 11:39 21 February 2013 | UPDATED: 11:39 21 February 2013
AN armed robber suspected of committing a raid while on day release from a Suffolk jail could not be charged despite being found with £5,500 on him, a court has heard.
Ipswich magistrates were told that despite Kenneth Gillespie being in possession of the money which was believed to come from a cash snatch at a fast food restaurant there was not enough evidence to prosecute him.
At the time Gillespie had been working at Ipswich Town Football Club, where some of the money was recovered.
The cash was believed to be part of around £17,000 that was snatched from a G4S security guard as she was pushed to the ground at McDonalds in Ranelagh Road, Ipswich, on November 7, 2011.
Gillespie – who was serving a life sentence for robbery at the time - was one of three prisoners working at the football club who were arrested following the cash snatch.
During a civil hearing magistrates were told that although some of the £5,500 was found on Gillespie, and the remainder discovered in a paint shed at Portman Road to which the 59-year-old had a key, he was never charged.
Prosecutor Karly McGuire said the case had not met the burden of proof the Crown Prosecution Service required.
Mrs McGuire said Gillespie is currently on the run after absconding from another prison. Therefore, he could not be served with papers to contest Suffolk Constabulary’s application to return the £5,513 to G4S.
The court heard Gillespie had been jailed for robbery in 1999.
After the McDonald’s cash snatch police located Gillespie and discovered he had the £5,500 in his possession. He declined to say where the money had come from.
Giving evidence Andrew Morrison, a Suffolk Constabulary financial investigator, said: “Mr Gillespie was identified as being a possible suspect, and the key being found in his possession that would open the paint store would lend itself (to believe) that the money was involved in that robbery.”
The magistrates found that on the balance of probabilities the money belonged to G4S and ordered its return.
After the hearing Lincolnshire Police confirmed Gillespie absconded from North Sea Camp open prison in Boston on January 23, when he did not return from day release.
Katherine Pinato, a spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) can confirm it has made the decision not to charge in this case due to the lack of essential forensic evidence.
“This means that without that evidence, it would be difficult to prove a link between the defendant and the alleged offence.
“Additionally, the defendant could not be identified by independent witnesses.
“Two CPS lawyers have reviewed the case and applied the Code for Crown Prosecutors which states we can only proceed if we have the evidence available to support any case going forward.
“As we didn’t have the required evidence, we were left with no other option but to take this course of action. This was agreed in liaison with the police and all parties have been informed of the decision.
“If any new evidence comes to light the case can be reviewed in line with CPS policy.”