Published: 07:00, 18 August 2015
A Medway man accused of being a getaway driver following a stabbing in broad daylight at a Gravesend bus stop has been formally cleared of attempted murder.
A judge at Maidstone Crown Court instructed that Peter Loring, 20, be found not guilty of the charge, as well as an alternative offence of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Loring, of Hawthorn Road, Strood, was accused alongside co-defendants Brandon Gurr, 18, and Mojolaoluwa Oluleye, also 18, under what is known in law as "joint enterprise".
At the start of their trial, prosecutor Rowan Jenkins said this meant that each defendant, no matter their role, was responsible for the actions of the other.
This was despite former Northfleet Technology College pupil Gurr being the only assailant armed with a knife, and Loring not being present when the attack took place.
However, Judge Charles Macdonald QC later ruled that formal not guilty verdicts be entered in respect of Loring.
He remains in the dock charged with assisting an offender in that he allegedly drove Gurr and Oluleye away from the scene with intent to impede their apprehension or prosecution.
Gurr, of no fixed address, denies attempted murder but has admitted wounding with intent. Oluleye, of Meadow Road, Gravesend, denies both charges.
Gurr also denies perverting the course of justice. It is alleged he telephoned victim Neil Davies's girlfriend Clare Flame three days after the attack and offered to pay him £1,000 to drop the charges.
It is alleged that Gurr and Oluleye ambushed Mr Davies in Milton Road just before noon on February 10 and launched what was described as a sustained and premeditated knife attack.
He suffered multiple stab wounds to his chest and upper body and had to be treated at King's College Hospital in London.
A mum and her two young children, aged three years and 17 months old, and a man who had just collected his three-year-old son from nursery school were among several passers-by who witnessed the stabbing.
Mr Davies named one of his attackers as Gurr who, at the time, was dating Ms Flame's daughter.
Just hours earlier Gurr had wrongly accused Mr Davies of stealing £700 cash from him and, waving a knife around, allegedly threatened to stab him "for fun".
The court heard Gurr then followed Mr Davies from Ms Flame's home, along Brown Road and then into East Milton Road before stabbing him in Milton Road.
By this time it is alleged Gurr had been joined by Oluleye, having been dropped off by Loring.
The court heard Loring then waited in nearby Augustine Road for the two teenagers before driving them away.
A knife with Mr Davies's DNA on the handle was found at the scene but it was not the weapon used to stab him.
During the trial Mr Davies said he may have left Ms Flame's home with a knife but he denied using it while fighting with Gurr.
Neither Gurr nor Oluleye gave evidence during the trial.
However, the jury was told by their legal teams that Gurr only intended to "teach Mr Davies a lesson" and not to kill, and that Oluleye denies being the black male who took part in the stabbing.
Charles Langley, defending Gurr, said in his closing speech that any plan the teenager had to give Mr Davies "a beating" changed when Mr Davies brandished a knife.
He accepted that what followed went beyond self-defence but argued that the prosecution had not proved Gurr intended to kill Mr Davies.
"Brandon Gurr was 17 years of age when he committed this horrendous assault," said Mr Langley.
"It was serious, but in those few minutes when he found the money he thought Mr Davies had stolen did he really plan to kill Mr Davies? Was it really in this young man's contemplation?
"It was only a plan to teach Mr Davies a lesson, a severe lesson, but not to end his life."
Christopher Sutton-Mattocks, on behalf of Oluleye, said in his closing speech that there was no direct evidence identifying Oluleye as the black male, and the prosecution had not put forward a motive why Oluleye would want to kill anyone.
He added that Loring's evidence, which included him telling the jury Oluleye was in the car, was an attempt to "throw dirt".
Loring also claimed to have not seen a knife.
The jury is expected to start deliberating tomorrow.