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Mildenhall: Lorry driver lied to protect family after murder at Willow Park traveller site

15:45 19 December 2012

Willow Park travellers

Willow Park travellers' site

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A LORRY driver lied to police to protect his family following a double-shooting, a court heard.

A LORRY driver lied to police to protect his family following a double-shooting, a court heard.

Michael Clinton, of Church Close, Beck Row, near Mildenhall, initally told police he was in the pub before owning up to seeing murderer Christopher Line, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

The prosecution allege Clinton helped Line by letting him into his home after he had killed two men at Willow Park, Beck Row, before giving him a change of clothing and driving him to Soham.

Clinton, 42, has denied doing an act intended to pervert the course of justice on March 15, 2011, by assisting Line to evade arrest.

He said: “I said I was in the pub because I was scared. Scared of the situation, everything that had happened and the comebacks.

“If Christopher Line could kill two people, what was going to happen to me?

“I just wanted to not be involved and that was the way I thought I could out. I hadn’t been in the pub that night at all.

“I told police I lied to protect my family.”

Defending Clinton, Matthew Gowen, said his client has no previous convictions.

The court heard that on March 15 last year David Castell, 29, and Shane Hill, 20, had travelled from Essex to set light to caravans on a plot occupied by Line and his employer San Vinden at Willow Park.

Mr Vinden left the site with his family and Line stayed behind and lain in wait for Mr Castell and Mr Hill armed with a shotgun.

After Mr Castell and Mr Hill had set light to a caravan and a trailer, Line had ambushed them and shot Mr Hill on a road to the site before shooting Mr Castell in his car.

Prosecuting Karim Khalil QC said when police initially spoke to Clinton he had denied seeing or hearing from Line on the night of the murders.

When police spoke to him again six months later, Clinton told police Line had turned up at his house and told him he had shot two people dead.

Clinton said he had allowed Line to stay at his house before taking him to Soham the next day but denied giving him a change of clothes.

The trial continues today.

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