A 77-YEAR-OLD man unwittingly became caught up in a violent burglary, a court decided.
Alan Bendelow was waiting in a car outside a house in Whitby, North Yorkshire, while a 65-year-old man was battered by Dean Firth and Karl Hill.
But Mr Bendelow was found not guilty aggravated burglary and possessing an imitation firearm as part of a joint enterprise after the jury at York Crown Court decided he did not know what the other two men had planned.
The court heard Daniel Barr, 65, was making a sandwich for a fishing trip when Firth and Hill burst into his living room with an imitation weapon.
Hill gave him a “savage” beating and the two men took Scottish bank notes, bank cards and an Omega watch, before fleeing the house.
Outside in a car was Mr Bendelow, who was waiting to drive Firth and Hill to their home town of Dewsbury.
Police later stopped the car on the A64 near Pickering. Mr Bendelow was at the wheel, with Firth and Hill in the back along with the Scottish notes, Mr Barr’s bank and health cards, his watch and the sawn-off shotgun.
All three men were arrested and charged with aggravated burglary and possessing an imitation firearm as part of a joint enterprise. Firth, 46, of Green Close, Dewsbury, and Hill, 44, of Halifax Road, Dewsbury, admitted the offences and are awaiting sentence.
Mr Bendelow, also of Halifax Road, Dewsbury, appeared at York Crown Court for trial after denying burglary and possessing an imitation firearm.
Prosecuting barrister Pater Sabiston said Mr Barr thought the Firth and Hill were going to kill him. A jury unanimously found Mr Bendelow not guilty of all charges.