Reading looting accused in 'wrong place at wrong time'

Three people accused of taking part in a raid on a electronics store in Reading were all "in the wrong place at the wrong time", a court has heard.

About 40 people raided Makro near Whitley Wood on 10 August, stealing £15,000 of goods, as riots engulfed several towns and cities in England.

Conall Bascombe-McCarthy, 19, Marc Murray, 30, and a 17-year-old boy all deny burglary and violent disorder.

The defendants, all from Whitley, are on trial at Reading Crown Court.

Giving evidence, the 17-year-old said: "I ran out of the car park then started walking down Elgar Road. I was not part of the group smashing their way into Makro and I didn't see it happen.

"I looked into the store, it was empty, there was no one about. I was pretty scared to be fair."

Linked to blood

When his barrister Graeme Logan asked him "Did you encourage or assist the looters?", he replied "No".

Mr Logan then asked: "Was it your intent to be involved in violent disorder?"

The teenager again replied "No".

Jurors heard Mr Murray was arrested after police linked blood found on three stolen television boxes to him.

But Mr Murray told the court he cut his hand after being knocked over by people rushing out of Makro as he walked past on his way home.

Hid in bush

Mr Murray said: "I saw three televisions in boxes about 20ft away, there was electric stuff all over the place.

"It attracted my attention as I was skint. I was going to take them. I manhandled them and got blood on them but then I thought better of it.

"I thought 'I don't want to get involved' and continued home."

Mr Bascombe-McCarthy told jurors he was also knocked to the floor as he walked past Makro and hid in a nearby bush as he was scared.

Earlier in the trial the court was shown CCTV footage of the raid.

Scores of people are captured on camera running to the entrance, smashing the sliding doors off their hinges before streaming in and stealing goods.

The trial continues.

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