A MAN has been cleared or kidnapping a woman in Newton Abbot after the case against him was dropped at Exeter Crown Court.

John Matthews was found not guilty of four charges after the prosecution offered no evidence on the first day of his trial at Exeter Crown Court.

Mr Matthews, aged 37, formerly of Primrose Drive, Newton Abbot, but now living in Sussex, had denied kidnapping a woman on January 1, 2023 and causing her actual bodily harm by assaulting her on the same day.

He also denied robbing the same woman of a dog and possessing a hammer as an offensive weapon in East Street, Newton Abbot, both on January 10, 2023.

Mr Daniel Pawson-Pounds, prosecuting, said the complainant, who is the same in all four cases, has declined to give evidence and told police she has had a panic attack and does not want to come to court.

He said a decision had been made not to compel the witness to give evidence against her will and the only option was to offer no evidence.

Matthews admitted personal possession of a small quantity of cannabis on January 19, 2023 and was ordered to spend one day in custody, which he has already served because he has been held on remand for seven months since his arrest.

Mr Pawson-Pounds said Matthews was found with a small amount of cannabis, weighing just 2.62 grams and with a street value of £26.20 on January 10.

Mr Ali Rafati, defending, said Matthews is currently on remand facing drug supply charges at another Crown Court.

Recorder Mr Jaron Crooknorth imposed a non-conviction restraining order banning Matthews from any form of contact with the complainant for five years.