A TEENAGER who was accused of killing a pensioner for his pie and peas says he can hold his head high in his own community after his name was cleared in court.

The youth, who cannot be named, is now back in his family home following a traumatic year in which he was charged with the murder of 86-year-old Bill Chivers.

Retired engineer Mr Chivers was the victim of a mugging on September 15 as he walked home after playing his weekly game of bingo at Swffryd Community Centre.

He died six weeks later in Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital from complications resulting from the hip, pelvis and arm injuries he sustained that night.

The then 15-year-old youth was subsequently charged with Mr Chivers' murder, but was cleared during the trial in Cardiff crown court last month.

But senior detectives in Gwent Police defended their decision to being the case to court, and Mr Chivers' 60-year-old son, Anthony, who lives in Nottingham, said he was shocked by the verdict.

Detective Inspector Tony Mayer, of Ebbw Vale police station, added yesterday: "We are not seeking anybody else in connection with the investigation."

But, speaking exclusively to the South Wales Argus, the now 16-year-old said: "The jury delivered a true verdict and I think it is wrong that the police are not re-opening the investigation. They were quick enough to come to me in the first place, and now they seem to have closed the case a bit too quick as well.

"Someone did it and should be brought to justice.

"I would like to say sorry to Mr Chivers' family but I didn't do anything - I was in my nan's house the whole time.

"Mr Chivers' niece and nephew have all my sympathies as they did everything for him. I just wish Mr Chivers' son could have been in court for the whole two weeks as I think he would have a different opinion of what happened."

The youth added: "I've had a terrible year which I wouldn't want to wish on anyone. I was kept away from my house for 12 months, which meant I couldn't see my mother and my nan when they were ill, which was very hard.

"I'm starting a new construction job with my step-dad in a couple of weeks and I'm hoping to start playing rugby again. I'm just looking forward to getting on with my life . I will never, ever forget the year I went through."