Man accused of robbing elderly tells court: I’m no animal

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THE man accused of being part of a gang who robbed wealthy pensioners has a previous conviction for a similar robbery, a court has heard.

Christopher Doughty, 54, denies two counts of being part of a highly-organised gang who targeted two large properties, in Hambledon and Southampton, tying up those inside and threatening them before stealing more than £300,000 of valuables.

Southampton Crown Court heard this morning, from prosecutor Adam Feest, that Doughty was jailed in 2009 for the robbery of an elderly couple, which happened in 2006.

Mr Feest said it was a large rural property in its own ground.

‘When the householders opened the main door to investigate an alarm they were restrained by at least three male offenders, all wearing balaclavas.

‘The men forced Mrs and Mrs Williams back into the house, bound their hands and ankles with parcel tape and blindfolded them’.

The court heard the gang made off with more than £300,000 from the property.

Doughty is also accused of being in possession of a loaded rifle – a Marlin gun which was stolen on a raid on a property in Southampton in August last year.

The gun was found in the boot of a silver Vauxhall Astra which Doughty was sitting in on October last year when it was searched by police.

Taking to the witness stand this morning Doughty told the court he had no idea the rifle was in the boot of the car.

He claimed the car was loaned to him by a friend, Kevin Green, who works in the motor trade.

Over the week-long period Doughty says he had borrowed the car, he said other family members had also used it, including his son Bradley who had borrowed it until 11am on the morning of his arrest, October 11.

Number plates for another vehicle, also a silver Vauxhall Astra belonging to Mr Green, were also found in the boot, one of which had Doughty’s finger print on. So too did a plastic bag.

He explained this by saying: ‘The number plate and the plastic bag was actually under the driver’s seat and when I was driving one of the number plates came out from underneath and I just pushed it back.’

Doughty’s barrister, Matthew Jewell, said: ‘One of the suggestions was such that the car would be disguised (by the number plates).

Doughty replied: ‘Not at all. It would not make sense. The silver Astra is registered to Keven Green and the other number plates are also registered to him’.

Doughty’s DNA was not found on the rifle.

He denies all the charges against him.

The trial continues.