Biker cleared of robbery and another biker of assault after Dartmoor car park violence

Wednesday 25th August 2021 3:49 pm
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Exeter Crown Court

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A BIKER has been found not guilty of robbing another rider during a violent attack in an isolated car park near Chagford on Dartmoor.

Moses Keeling had already admitted carrying out the beating of cancer patient Andrew Pope, who he left needing seven stitches in a deep wound to his left ear.

Another biker, Adam Hackett, was cleared of taking part in that attack after telling a jury at Exeter Crown Court he had tried to restrain Keeling and act as peacemaker.

Mr Pope, aged 51, was attacked because he refused to pay a £20 a month subscription to join a motorcycle club called No Bars which Keeling had founded in Exmouth.

Keeling was also under the false impression that Mr Pope was a paedophile and only discovered his mistake after he left him battered, bruised, and so frightened that he rode back to Exmouth at speeds of 90mph because he feared the two men were following him.

Keeling, aged 59, of Silver St, Axminster, has admitted causing actual bodily harm but denied robbery. Hackett, aged 36, of Laburnum Rd, Exeter, denied causing actual bodily harm.

They were both found not guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court where Recorder Mr Malcolm Galloway adjourned sentence and ordered a probation report.

He told him that all options are open, including an immediate prison sentence.

During a three-day trial the jury heard how Keeling beat up cancer patient Mr Pope after falsely accusing him of being a paedophile.

The attack took place near Lettaford Cross, Chagford, on the main road across the moor from Moretonhampstead to the Warren House Inn.

Keeling and Hackett saw Mr Pope, who they had met a few weeks before in Exmouth when they asked him to join the No Bars club and he refused.

In the intervening time, Keeling had become convinced he Mr Pope was a child molester but it was a case of mistaken identity and the allegation was completely untrue.

The pair rode with Mr Pope across the moor and then forced him to pull into the layby where Keeling attacked him. Mr Pope said he also stole £80 from his wallet, but Keeling denied this and was acquitted.

Hackett told the jury he tried to stop the violence and helped Mr Pope get away by retrieving his helmet, which had been thrown in the road.

Keeling told the jury he now knows he was completely wrong and that Mr Pope is not a paedophile but said he thought he was when he attacked him.

He said he had drunk alcohol and smoked cannabis before going for a ride to Dartmoor with Hackett because he needed to get away from home after arguing with his wife.

He said: ‘I took out my frustration on him. I attacked him. I know it was wrong. He was the scapegoat for my anger. I started with a backhander and one of my rings must have cut him.

‘I struck him several times with my fists and kicked him in the back when he was on the floor. I was saying he was a dirty nonce.

‘In the end I felt I had to get away from him. I stopped and told him to get on his bike and go.’

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