A MAN has denied involvement in a violent Carlisle jewellery shop robbery, telling a jury he only drove 100 miles to the city to sell a car he’d stolen.
Daniel Burtak, 32, and 36-year-old Ashley Entwistle are on trial. Both deny being the masked crooks who entered St Nicholas Galleries, on June 6, and robbed owner Craig Carruthers of jewellery – most of which was later recovered – before fleeing the scene in a Ford Fiesta.
Mr Carruthers suffered a broken nose when he was punched by one of the intruders while bravely trying to protect his Bank Street store, staff and stock.
Giving evidence this afternoon (WED), Burtak admitted stealing the Fiesta in his home town of Bolton before travelling to Carlisle having agreed to sell it in exchange for jewellery. He drove in convoy with pal Entwistle, of Athlone Avenue, Bolton, who agreed to transport the Audi for the return journey, but didn’t know Burtak’s sale plan.
Burtak said he met his contact at Chatsworth Square, handed over the Fiesta on the understanding he would receive jewellery as payment from two brothers. Those brothers were at the rendez-vous point and, he said, drove the car away before returning a short time later on foot with bag containing gold chains.
“I had a look at the chains in there. I was happy with the payment. I put it in my pocket. I said my goodbyes and left,” Burtak told jurors.
His barrister, Andrew Scott, asked: “Were you either of the masked men who robbed Mr Craig Carruthers of jewellery?” Burtak replied: “No.”
“Were you the masked robber who assaulted Craig Carruthers?” asked Mr Scott.
Burtak responded: “No. I would never do that.”
Mr Scott asked: “Were you aware that the Fiesta that you stole would be used in a robbery?” Burtak said:
“Not a robbery at all. No.”
The trial continues.