Newport man accused of robbing two soldiers
5:27pm Thursday 12th September 2013 in News
TWO British soldiers were punched to the floor and had money and phones stolen after they had both consumed over a bottle of vodka, a court heard.
Following a nine-hour bender, one was knocked unconscious and needed stitches in four head wounds after the incident in Newport, while the other admitted to the city’s Crown Court that he was so drunk “a strong breeze would have hit me off my feet”.
Marcus Ball, 26, of no fixed abode, is accused of robbing soldiers Charles Wakefield of cash and a mobile phone and David Barr of a wallet and mobile phone when they were on leave from their German base on July 27 last year.
Eyewitness Samuel Docker told the court how he saw Ball knock Mr Barr out with one punch and hit Mr Wakefield down with another blow. The incident happened at 3am near Newport Train Station and he said the defendant then rifled through their pockets before running off.
Mr Barr told the court he had travelled to Mr Wakefield’s home in Pontypool as they prepared to drive to Germany, where they consumed the equivalent of nine shots of vodka each.
They then went to the town’s Wetherspoon’s, where they drank a further five pints of cider and shots before moving on to Newport, where over the course of the night they drank a further 20 measures of vodka.
Spending the night at the Bird Cage and Loft, the pair met two girls, who they began drinking with.
However, Mr Wakefield described his friend having an argument with Ball and them “screaming at each other” after the defendant arrived and said one was his girlfriend.
He added that three people had to calm Mr Barr down and he got angry again when he saw a G4S security van- saying he almost lost his leave following the security debacle at last year’s Olympics.
Despite the disagreement, the five agreed to go to a house party together. As they walked near Newport train station, Mr Wakefield described his friend falling to the floor.
He was then hit down and had £12 cash and an old phone taken, but admitted it could have been Ball or one of the girls who did it. He added: “A strong breeze would have hit me off my feet, I was fairly out of it.”
Mr Barr remembers nothing either. He had a wallet containing £4 and a phone taken and needed stitches to four cuts on his face and had a chipped tooth.
Defence barrister Jeremy Jenkins said Barr became angry at seeing the G4S van, adding: “You were ranting and had to be restrained, you were out of control and went to attack the defendant.”
He said Ball acted in self defence and didn’t take the items adding: “You had drunk over a bottle of vodka each and five pints of cider. Is it not impossible you lost or misplaced your wallet?”
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