Charges against cemetery attack accused are dropped

Grantham Cemetery was attacked in March of this year.
Grantham Cemetery was attacked in March of this year.
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CHARGES against a 22-year-old man and a 17-year-old youth following the attacks on Grantham Cemetery in March have been dropped this week.

Daniel Fitas, of Victoria Street, Grantham and the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were told this week at Crown Court that all charges against them have been dropped due to insufficient evidence.

Two other youths admitted their role in the cemetery attack earlier this year, which saw around 50 headstones damaged.

Christopher Lowe, prosecuting, said: “The charges follow a very upsetting incident in a cemetery where criminal damage was caused to a number of gravestones. It was an absolute outrage.

“Two other individuals have been prosecuted successfully and have been convicted.

“The prosecution have reviewed the cases of these two defendants. In the circumstances, having reviewed that evidence, the prosecution are now of the view that there is not sufficient evidence for there to be a reasonable prospect of conviction.”

The Crown Prosecution Service has written to many of the victims to explain the decision to abandon the prosecution.

The letter states: “This was a disgusting and frankly callous offence and I would be pleased to prosecute any person whom there was sufficient evidence to secure a conviction.

“Sadly, for the reasons I have explained, there is insufficient evidence to convict the two remaining suspects currently charged.”

The letter to the victims outlines the problems the CPS came up against:

l CCTV cameras showed people entering but not causing damage.

l No forensic evidence was found at the scene

l No independent witnesses saw the damage committed

l The youths who already admitted their role “were approached but they would not make statements about the behaviour of anyone else”.

The CPS considered forcing the two youths who have already admitted guilt into providing evidence but decided against it due to their age and other factors.

Mark Watson, who represented the 17-year-old in court, said: “This is a case where the evidence has been very thin. The offence has been denied from the very start.”

The Journal’s Cemetery Fund saw a total of £2,300 donated by Journal readers. Cheques are due to be posted out to victims next week.