Biker must pay outto attack victim

Friday 1st October 2021 12:00 pm
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Exeter Crown Court

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A BIKER has been ordered to pay compensation to a cancer sufferer who was beaten up at a Dartmoor beauty spot after being falsely accused of being a paedophile.

Moses Keeling punched and kicked victim Andrew Pope after forcing him to pull over into an isolated car park at Lettaford Cross, Chagford, on the main road across the moor from Moretonhampstead to the Warren House Inn.

He repeatedly called him a nonce and a paedophile during the attack even though the accusation was totally untrue and unfounded.

A passing motorist was so worried that he stopped to investigate but Keeling told him that Mr Pope had fallen off his bike and he was giving him first aid.

Mr Pope, aged 51, was so terrified by the attack that he sped back to his home in Exmouth through country lanes and sought refuge with his brother. He was too frightened to go home because he feared Keeling may find him.

Keeling had met Mr Pope for the first time a few weeks before on Exmouth seafront and was also angry that he chose not to pay £20 a month to join his newly-founded biker group called No Bars.

He was cleared of robbing Mr Pope of £80 from his wallet at a trial at Exeter Crown Court in August.

Keeling, aged 59, of Silver St Axminster, admitted causing actual bodily harm and was jailed for 16 months, suspended for two years and ordered to do 20 days of rehabilitation activities and pay £1,500 compensation by Recorder Mr Malcolm Galloway.

Adam Hackett, aged 36, of Laburnum Rd, Exeter, denied causing actual bodily harm and was found not guilty at the trial in August.

The judge told Keeling: ’You punched and kicked him about the body for a considerable time and he recalled passing out. 

’This was a totally unprovoked and sustained assault on a man who you mistook, for no reason whatsoever, for a paedophile.

’I do not ignore the pain and suffering you caused an innocent man who was out enjoying one of the few pleasures left open to him because of his illness. It is right you should pay compensation.’

Mr Adrian Chaplin, prosecuting, said Mr Pope had suffered from cancer for 20 years and was still being treated at the time of the attack in June 2018. He told the jury that he did not deserve what happened to him.

Mr Chaplin said the offence was aggravated by Keeling having drunk and used cannabis before it was committed and by his long criminal record.

Mr Warren Robinson, defending, said Keeling has a long criminal history but has stayed out of trouble since being released from a ten-year sentence in 2014. He started studying while in prison and is now doing a university degree.

He is working as a painter and decorator and has received favourable references from friends and customers. He expressed remorse shortly after the attack and is assessed as a good prospect for rehabilitation in a probation report.

BY CROWN COURT REPORTER

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