Jurors in shopping centre explosive case due to consider verdicts

SCENE: Fishergate Shopping Centre

SCENE: Fishergate Shopping Centre

The moment the man suspected of planting an explosive in a shopping centre was taken into custody has been shown to a jury.

Prosecutors insist David Rutherford’s unusual walk matches that of a suspect caught on CCTV moments before the incendiary device was discovered in the men’s toilets at Fishergate Shopping Centre on December 17 last year.

The 24-year-old has been deemed too unfit to enter pleas but is on trial at Preston Crown Court as jurors consider whether he can be proven to have committed the acts alleged.

The court heard a suspect had been caught walking towards the centre on a camera outside a jewellers on Fishergate and jurors were shown footage of a limping man.

They were then shown footage from a police bodycam which appears to show Rutherford walking in a similar manner as he is booked into the custody suite.

Rutherford, wearing glasses and a grey jumper, sat flanked by three nurses as his mother watched proceedings from the public gallery.

Prosecutor Richard Archer, addressing DC Mark Burns, said: “You and your colleagues noticed the defendant has a very distinctive walk. How would you best describe that?”

He replied: “It appears to me to be some kind of limp.”

Another officer told jurors that when his phone was examined, he had downloaded a CCTV image from a press release issued as police hunted the person responsible, a picture of the shopping centre with police cars outside, footage of pedestrians having been evacuated, and there were also pictures of the inside of the centre, with an image of an armed police officer.

A roll of black adhesive tape similar to that which the device was wrapped in was found in his kitchen cupboard, and some toy figures which appeared to match cardboard toy packaging used to make the device, were recovered from his bedroom.

In a statement, DC Stephen Fulton, who arrested him, said: “ David looked down and stared at floor when asked if he knew anything about it.”

Judge Heather Lloyd has begun summing up the evidence and the jury is expected to deliberate their verdict tomorrow morning. (proceeding)