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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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‘Drug dealer’ made up car snatch claim, Cumbrian court told

A man was accused in court of falsely saying that two brothers robbed him – because he was a drug dealer and owed money by one of them.

Related: Cumbrian brothers on trial accused of robbing man of car

Jonathan Nicholson had gone to Carlisle Crown Court to give evidence against Russell Roberts, 29, and Jonathan Roberts, 34, who he has accused of robbing him of his car after dragging him from the driving seat.

But he faced a grilling from defence barrister David Birrell who accused him of being a drug dealer and of making a false allegation because he was owed £600.

Mr Nicholson says the brothers got him to stop his VW Golf car by flashing the lights of their car at him as they followed him in their Mitsubishi on Clayton Avenue, Cleator Moor, on May 3 – the day of the Royal wedding – last year.

Then, he claims, Russell Roberts jumped out of the car following him, and dragged him from the Golf before driving off in it.

His car was found burned out three days later, by which time the brothers were being held in prison on remand.

Both Russell Roberts, of Dent Place, Cleator Moor, and Jonathan Roberts, of Gillfoot Road, Egremont, have pleaded not guilty to robbery.

And in court yesterday Mr Birrell accused Mr Nicholson of making the whole story up.

He questioned how there were no witnesses to the alleged robbery, even though it happened on a busy street on a sunny Bank Holiday.

And he asked how Mr Nicholson, though unemployed for several years, managed to be driving a decent car.

“It’s because you make money selling drugs, don’t you?” he said. “You are a drug dealer. You sell cannabis and what is known as plant food.”

Mr Nicholson said that was not true, though he admitted police had spoken to him in the past about drug dealing.

Mr Birrell said Russell Roberts owed Mr Nicholson £600.

“He had owed you money for some time, hadn’t he? And that angered you,” said Mr Birrell.

“No,” Mr Nicholson replied.

“And this – framing him for a crime he did not commit – is your way of getting him back, isn’t it?”

“No,” Mr Nicholson replied.

Mr Birrell added to Mr Nicholson: “This is all a pack of lies.”

“No,” Mr Nicholson repeatedly replied.

The trial continues.

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