Jury undecided on whether 'getaway driver' is blind - but alleged accomplices found guilty

Keble Thompson

Keble Thompson

First published in News
Last updated
Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

The jury in the trial of an alleged drive-by shooting getaway driver - who claimed he could not have been involved because he was blind - has failed to reach a verdict.

Keble Thompson, 38, is accused of being at the wheel when a trio of gunmen fired at a South Norwood barber shop with a sawn-off shotgun in a botched revenge attack.

But his insists he could not have driven the car - which crashed metres away from the shooting - because he cannot see.

Leonard Yearde, 23, and Renaldo Mcintosh, 30, were today both found guilty of roles in the attack, which smashed the window of Matthew's Unisex Barber in Portland Road and scattered shards of glass on a bystander.

But the jury could not reach a verdict on whether Mr Thompson was involved. He was accused of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and now faces a retrial.

Croydon Crown Court heard dad-of-nine Mr Thompson, then of Layard Road in Thornton Heath, had been stabbed at a party at a different hairdresser's two weeks before the shooting on January 2, 2012.

Mr Thompson, who has since moved to Streatham, was alleged to have driven a friend's car past the shop while either Yearde, of Zion Road, Thornton Heath or Mcintosh, of Heathfield Gardens, South Croydon, fired the gun.

The car then crashed into a parked vehicle in Stanley Road, less than 500 metres from the shooting, forcing the trio to flee on foot.

Mr Thompson - who entered court carrying a white stick - was later identified as the driver by Dwayne Matthews, the barber shop's owner, but claims it would have been impossible for him to drive the car because he suddenly turned blind overnight in 2008.

Tests conducted by an ophthalmologist for the defence appeared to confirm some level of visual impairment.

But prosecutor Robert Ellison suggested Mr Thompson's was "faking it", adding his account was "riddled with inconsistencies and uncertainties", and questioned why he had refused to be examined by an ophthalmologist for the prosecution.

He added: "No person who was genuinely virtually blind would be frightened [of being examined.] The only thing he would be frightened of was the truth coming out."

Yearde and McIntosh, who were found guilty of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, and were linked to the shooting by DNA evidence and phone records, will be sentenced on April 30.

 

Comments (1)

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9:52pm Thu 3 Apr 14

motomoto says...

he must have been taught to drive by stevie wonder hence crashing the car but could obviously see well enough to leg it up the road after the crash !
would also be interesting to know how many people registered blind have managed to father 9 children ?
he must have been taught to drive by stevie wonder hence crashing the car but could obviously see well enough to leg it up the road after the crash ! would also be interesting to know how many people registered blind have managed to father 9 children ? motomoto
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