Death threat claim dismissed by court

The scales of justice
The scales of justice

A LORRY driver from Littlehampton has been cleared of threatening to kill a woman he was dating.

However, a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court, in Essex, cleared Mr Steeles of all the allegations against him.

The jury took just an hour after the eight day trial last week to find the 26-year-old lorry driver not guilty of harassment, alleged to have taken place between November 27 and December 6, 2013.

The jury had earlier been told by the judge in his summing up that some of the things said by the alleged victim to other people were ‘plainly not true’.

The court had previously heard evidence from Karen Anthony, 51, of Epping, who had made the claims.

She had told jurors that Steeles moved in with her in March 2013 after meeting in November the previous year.

Giving evidence, Ms Anthony told the court how Steeles was ‘controlling’ and didn’t like her going to a friend’s house with things coming to a head on November 27.

She described how she felt ‘trapped by the relationship’ and told jurors how Mr Steeles had alledgedly threatened her, saying: “If you leave me, I’ll kill you.”

The court also heard from Ms Anthony how the lorry driver had allegedly grabbed her twice around the throat and threw a glass containing Ribena at her.

Mr Steeles, who had trained as a police community liasion officer, declined to give evidence to the court.

However, he had previously told police officers in an interview that none of the alleged incidents had occurred.

During an interview with police, jurors heard how Mr Steeles had told officers that he had bought an engagement ring and had been planning a Christmas Day marriage proposal.

PC Martin Carroll told the court that after Mr Steeles had been handcuffed he asked police to ‘tell her I love her’.

In his summing up to the jury, trial Judge John Dodd QC said: “You might think it was a dysfunctional relationship.”

He added: “Ms Anthony said various things to 
various people over the months and plainly they were not true.”

Mr Steeles was awarded travel and accommodation costs totalling £901.60.

During the eight day trial he had stayed at a local hotel. Judge Dodd refused to impose a restraining order against him in respect of the Ms Anthony.

He said: “There’s no threat to her, a line has to be drawn. I hope history doesn’t prove me wrong.”

Speaking to Steeles, The judge added: “It’s time for you to move on.”