Milkman's court ordeal is finally over

AN Ipswich milkman accused of theft has spoken of his relief after the case against him was thrown out by a judge who described prosecution evidence as being "riddled with inconsistencies".

AN Ipswich milkman accused of theft has spoken of his relief after the case against him was thrown out by a judge who described prosecution evidence as being "riddled with inconsistencies".

Directing the jury in the trial of 36-year-old Stephen Lewis, who was employed by Dairy Crest to return a not guilty verdict, Judge John Devaux said the evidence of the main prosecution witness Michael Warrick had been "all over the place".

"His evidence is not evidence on which a conviction could possibly be returned with any safety," the judge told the jury.

After leaving the court Lewis, of Henniker Road, Ipswich, said he was glad that his ordeal, which started in January last year when £997 takings that he had collected went missing, was over.

Lewis had been arrested in June last year and in January when the case came to trial the jury had to be discharged after failing to reach a verdict.

A new trial started on Tuesday and ended yesterday after legal submissions at the close of the prosecution case.

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It has been alleged that Lewis had pocketed the missing £997 shortly before leaving his job. However Lewis maintained that his wife had handed over the money to Dairy Crest manager Mr Warrick when he called at their house.

Giving evidence during the trial Mr Warrick denied that the missing £997 had been given to him by Mr Lewis. He denied a suggestion from defence counsel Richard Potts that he had covered up the involvement of the real thief and was using Lewis as a scapegoat.