Man cleared of helping Beck Row murderer

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A lorry driver has been cleared of helping a double murderer to evade police after a shooting at Beck Row.

Michael Clinton, 41, had been confronted on his doorstep by Christopher Line who confessed to shooting two men dead at nearby Willow Park.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Clinton, of Church Close, Beck Row, had been scared for the safety of his family when he let Line into the house and then drove him to Soham the next day.

Today after considering the evidence for almost three and three quarter hours, a jury of five women and seven men found Clinton not guilty of perverting the course of justice by assisting Line to evade arrest on March 15, 2011. Clinton had denied the charge.

After the jury returned their verdict Judge John Devaux told Clinton that he was free to leave the court.

Giving evidence Clinton said he had been scared and unsure what to do when Line appeared at his house. He had allowed him inside because he was scared what could happen to him and his family.

Clinton said: “At the end of the day this bloke had killed two people and what was to stop him making me number three?”

The shooting at Willow Park, Beck Row resulted in Christopher Line, 29, being convicted of two counts of murder in June. He is serving a life sentence and will spend at least 35 years behind bars.

Line had shot dead Shane Hill, 20, and David Castell, 29, at close range after they travelled from Basildon to set light to a caravan belonging to Line’s employer Sam Vinden. Mr Vinden had not been at the site but Line stayed behind armed with a cache of weapons.

Line had been a ‘scared man’ and he had spent two hours talking with him, said Clinton who told police: “I just didn’t know what to do. I knew I didn’t want to get involved.”