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Couple cleared of attempted robbery

PUBLISHED: 06:30 18 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:41 03 March 2010

AN Ipswich couple have been cleared of attempting to rob a Big Issue seller.

Before Ipswich Crown Court were Peter Barber, 30, and his girlfriend Tracy Baxter, 26, both of Newnham Court, Ipswich, who had denied attempting to rob Mark Avanti who sells the Big Issue in Ipswich town centre.

AN Ipswich couple have been cleared of attempting to rob a Big Issue seller.

Before Ipswich Crown Court were Peter Barber, 30, and his girlfriend Tracy Baxter, 26, both of Newnham Court, Ipswich, who had denied attempting to rob Mark Avanti who sells the Big Issue in Ipswich town centre.

Barber also denied three offences of robbing Mr Avanti and was found not guilty on the direction of Judge Gareth Hawkesworth.

During the trial it was alleged that Barber had approached Mr Avanti and asked him for money.

When Mr Avanti refused, Barber allegedly held him in a headlock and asked Baxter to search his pockets.

During the incident Mr Avanti was allegedly hit several times and kneed in the face.

Giving evidence Barber claimed he had met Mr Avanti in Ipswich and had asked him for £20 he claimed was owing to him.

He said Mr Avanti had offered to repay him £10 and then taken a £10 note out of one of his socks.

As he did so a number of other notes had fallen out and Barber had tried to pick them up before they were blown away.

However, as he did so he claimed Mr Avanti threw a punch at him. He had retaliated by punching Mr Avanti and had then been pushed backwards into a flowerbed by Mr Avanti.

Giving evidence Baxter denied attempting to rob Mr Avanti.

She said she and Barber had regarded Mr Avanti as a friend and she had followed him after he had pushed Barber into the flowerbed to try and sort things out.

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