Food delivery boy ‘robbed at knifepoint’ in North Carlisle

A FOOD delivery man who had just dropped off an order at an address in north Carlisle had his car stolen at knifepoint, a jury heard.

After making his delivery to Briar Bank, Belah, one evening in August last year, the man was cleaning rubbish from the passenger floor of his Mercedes car when a stranger jumped into the driver’s seat.

Initially thinking it was a joke, the man asked the stranger to get out of his car – but then a second man – armed with a knife – entered the back of the car and threatened to stab him, the court heard.

The two strangers then fled.

At Carlisle Crown Court on the first day of his trial, Tjay O’Neil, 31, who lives on the street where the car was taken, denies the theft. Attorney Kim Whittlestone opened the case for the prosecution.

She said the victim was targeted after making her delivery between 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on August 23. When he backed out of the car after being threatened, the man in the driver’s seat had “slammed” the moving Mercedes and fled.

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The victim immediately called 999.

‘The vehicle, as you will see, did not go very far and was damaged in a collision,’ Miss Whittlestone said. Despite this accident, the driver had continued to cross a park.

“The police arrived on the scene very quickly after the call to 999,” continued the lawyer. Police had also received calls that a vehicle was driving erratically before crashing into a park near Dene Crescent, a short distance away.

A policeman had seen a white man running away from the area and chased after him, Miss Whittlestone said. According to the prosecution, the officer did not lose sight of the man and saw him enter a house in Brar Bank.

Inside this house, the lawyer said, the police found the defendant sitting on a couch. He was arrested on suspicion of theft. When questioned, O’Neil said he had been home since 8 p.m. that night.

But a forensic examination of the stolen Mercedes found traces of DNA that matched the accused on both the steering wheel and the gear stick, Miss Whittlestone said.

That evidence supported the prosecution’s case that O’Neil was the person who jumped into the driver’s seat of the car, the attorney said.

The defendant initially gave answers without comment when first questioned by police, but after being confronted with DNA evidence, he provided a different account.

He told officers he was out that evening and on his way home saw the abandoned Mercedes. “He said he bent over there looking for money and that’s why his DNA was present in the car,” Miss Whittlestone said.

The first witness in the case was the alleged victim.

He told the court that the two men who got into his car had their faces covered – the man in the front using a balaclava or scarf of some sort.

Asked about the knife that was used by the thief to threaten him, he said its blade was three or four inches long. After jumping into the back of the car, the second man said twice “I’m going to stab you”.

The witness told the court he was in shock after his car was stolen. He said he gave up the Mercedes after the incident because he was no longer comfortable using it.

The trial continues.

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