Woman found not guilty of robbery and attempted burglary after Clifton raids

Catherine Keightley was found not guilty at Luton Crown Court today

Catherine Keightley was found not guilty at Luton Crown Court today - Credit: Getty Images/Creatas RF

A woman who was accused of acting as a getaway driver in a robbery and attempted burglary has been found not guilty.

Catherine Keightley was cleared of any wrongdoing by a jury today (Wednesday) following raids on Clifton Post Office and Clifton Garage petrol station on May 27.

Luton Crown Court heard on Tuesday how Mrs Keightley’s friend Emmanuel Buckland, 39, and her boyfriend of four weeks Stuart Battams, 41, were driven by the 33-year-old in her car while carrying out two raids.

Prior to the trial, Buckland pleaded guilty to one count of burglary and one count of robbery and Battams to two counts of burglary.

The court heard how Mrs Keightley drove a purple Ford Focus to Clifton Post Office and Clifton Garage on the Bank Holiday afternoon of May 27, where Battams and Buckland jointly took part in the raids.

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They stopped first at the post office where Buckland attempted to grab the cashier’s till while Battams waited outside, but the person behind the counter prevented him from getting hold of it.

A short while later they arrived in Mrs Keightley’s car at the petrol station in the village, where CCTV showed Buckland grapple with the shop attendant.

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Both ended up on the floor and Buckland took some cash, while Battams stole a bottle of vodka and two bottles of whiskey.

Mrs Keighley was arrested two days later, but told the police that she did not know what the two men were getting up to while she was in the car.

Defence lawyer Derek Johashen asked the jury to consider Mrs Keightley’s character.

He said: “She is a woman with no convictions or cautions, who worked in a clinic for many years. This is a woman who was confused, distant, easy prey, manipulated, taken advantage of and easily duped.

“There is no evidence that this woman looked at security arrangements. Where is the evidence that this woman took part in any planning or disguises? She couldn’t disguise her face because she was sat in the car.”

After hearing two days of evidence, the jury found Mrs Keightley not guilty of robbery and attempted burglary.

Battams and Buckland are due to be sentenced at Luton Crown Court in the next fortnight.

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