OAP in court accused of attempted robbery

derby crown court
derby crown court

The trial of a pensioner alleged to have attempted to rob a jewellery store in the 1980s is due to resume this morning.

Retired Barrie Rhodes, 65, of Monument Lane, Ironville, was held after fingerprints found on pieces of evidence from the 1986 raid in Derby uploaded to a new national police database were found to match his, it is alleged. He pleaded not guilty to the charge this week.

He is accused of entering Jeanian jewellers on Osmaston Road, Allenton, on July 10 that year armed with a shotgun, along with an accomplice.

He is alleged to have threatened a woman working there with the gun - but was said to have left empty handed after ‘plucky’ workers confronted the raiders, Derby Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

Rhodes denies having anything to do with the attempted robbery, telling police that in 1986, he was buying and selling jewellery, which he claimed would explain why his fingerprints were found on items at the Osmaston Road wholesalers.

He was arrested on suspicion of the crime after his fingerprints were taken on a different matter in November 2011, the court heard.

The third day of the trial is to resume today, in which Rhodes’ defence team are expected to put forward their case.

Yesterday prosecutor Justin Wigoder read out the statements of four prominent jewellers around the East Midlands, who claimed to have traded in the 1980s.

Neither claimed to have heard of, or dealt with Rhodes.

Barry Hill, who ran a series of jewellery businesses in Nottingham throughout the 1980s was called to the witness stand.

When asked to describe the jewellery trade in that period he called it a ‘small cottage industry’.

“Everyone in the trade knew each other,” he said. “We decided to deal in the trade amongst ourselves and we still do.”

When asked whether he had any knowledge of a Barrie Rhodes, he replied “nothing whatsoever.”

However Brett Williamson, for Rhodes, put the names of three other prominent Derby-based jewellers to Mr Hill. He did not know two of them.

Mr Williamson said: “Your evidence that you are not aware of a Barrie Rhodes from the 1980s, might be for a number of reasons - not least he did not operate in your level of the market.”

The trial continues.