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Cousin 'forced' to steal court hears
Updated 10:49am Wednesday 30th April 2014 in News
A 28-year-old Cleobury Mortimer man forced his younger cousin, from Stourport, to take part in robberies in Wyre Forest stores, a court has heard.
Gavyn Smith threatened 20-year-old Robert Smith with a wheelbrace and told him he had to steal a George Foreman grill from Morrisons in Kidderminster because he wanted it as a Christmas present for his mother-in-law, Worcester Crown Court was told yesterday.
He also forced Robert Smith to steal a TV and a petrol can full of diesel from a Texaco garage in Bewdley, a jury heard. He is also charged with kidnap as the prosecution alleges he took Robert Smith from his home against his will. Gavyn Smith denies all the charges.
John Evans, prosecuting, told the jury that Gavyn Smith took his cousin from the flat he was in with his partner and their two young children in Chequers Close, Stourport, and drove him to his home in Furlongs Close, Cleobury Mortimer, on October 6 last year.
Robert Smith spent the night sleeping on the floor and the following day they went to Morrisons, the jury heard. Gavyn Smith told Robert to steal the George Foreman grill while he bought one with the intention of later returning one of them and consequently getting both a grill and a refund, Mr Evans said.
The alarm went off, however, as Robert Smith carried the box through the doors and he was later prosecuted for the theft. Mr Evans said Gavyn Smith was jointly responsible for the offences because he had been the one who told his cousin to "do the dirty work".
Robert Smith told the jury he was afraid of his cousin and had earlier been made to carry out robberies at other stores in Kidderminster, including the theft of the 32-inch TV on an unspecified date.
He said Gavyn Smith had called at his flat on October 6 in the evening as he was giving his children a meal and "went mad", shouting and smashing glass vases to intimidate him.
"He said I had to go robbing with him - I said I didn't want to but he told me I had no choice. He would beat me up," Robert Smith said.
He said Gavyn Smith had an extendable wheelbrace partially hidden in his sleeve and he was also aware he had knuckledusters.
He said he eventually decided to tell the police on October 29 last year what had been happening because he still felt threatened.
"He had me take things all the time since I was a little kid," he told the jury.
Mr Evans said Gavyn Smith claimed to know nothing about the theft of the TV or the fuel and his cousin had gone with him willingly to his home to help him work on his bathroom. He also claimed Robert Smith had offered to steal the George Foreman grill for him but he said he was going to buy one.
The trial continues.
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