Sturgate: Detectives are questioned during post office armed robbery trial

Detectives have been accused of failing to take statements from potentially significant witnesses in an armed post office robbery case.

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A jury at Lincoln Crown Court was told today (Tuesday, September 1) that some of the witnesses may have been able to provide evidence which under-mined the prosecution case again Anton Stepniewski who is on trial accused of staging the raid on the village post office at Fiskerton near Lincoln.

Barrister Michael Cranmer-Brown, representing Stepniewski, questioned the investigation that was carried out into the robbery during his cross-examination of Det Con Jim Wilson who is the investigating officer.

The prosecution has claimed that Stepniewski drove to Fiskerton from his home near Gainsborough and parked up in Hall Lane. The defendant is then alleged to have used a quad bike to make his way across fields to the rear of the post office.

Then, after carrying out the raid, Stepniewski is alleged to have driven away on the quad bike, loaded it into his van and driven off.

But Mr Cranmer-Brown said that villager Paul Banwell spoke to a detective giving a description of a man he saw driving a quad bike in the area on the morning of the raid which was recorded in his rough notebook. Mr Banwell also gave details of the route he saw the quad bike take but no statement was taken from him at the time.

Mr Cranmer-Brown asked Det Con Wilson: “Do you agree that the account does not fit with the prosecution theory of what was going on this day?”

Det Con Wilson said: “I agree its different. It does undermine it.”

The jury was told that Mr Banwell was unable to give a statement immediately because of his work commitments.

Det Con Wilson added: “We should have made further attempts to contact him and get a statement. We didn’t.

“It was a mistake on my part. should have spotted it. I can’t give you any other explanation.”

The jury has heard that other potential witnesses were either not identified or not asked to give statements at the time.

Anton Stepniewski, 26, of Sturgate, near Gainsborough, denies charges of robbery of the post office cashier Joseph Stuffins and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit robbery on February 10, this year.

The prosecution say that Mr Stuffins was robbed at gunpoint of more than £2,000 cash while he was working behind the outreach post office at Fiskerton Village Hall.

The trial continues.