Stretford , Urmston , Trafford Photographer

Elderly Old Trafford shopkeeper will not be prosecuted for murder

AN OLD Trafford pensioner who stabbed an intruder to death acted in self defence and will not face any legal charges.

Grandfather Cecil Coley, 72, fatally stabbed 30-year-old Gary Mullings and injured another man when four armed intruders broke into his shop two months ago.

Mr Coley, who spent two days in hospital after the incident, was arrested on suspicion of murder but yesterday(September 7), the Crown Prosecution Service decided that no charges would be brought against him.

Nazir Afzal, chief crown prosecutor for the north west area, said that he was satisfied that Mr Coley was acting in reasonable self-defence at the time and said it was ‘difficult to imagine a more frightening set of circumstances’ than those faced by him that night.

Mr Coley and a friend had been locking up his Feathers Frills and Flowers shop on Shrewsbury Street at around 9.40pm on Tuesday July 26 when four men, armed with guns and a knife, forced their way in.

During the altercation Mr Coley received a number of injuries, including a serious facial injury, his friend was knocked unconscious and one of the guns, a blank firing pistol, was fired.

At some point Mr Coley took hold of a knife that was on the shop counter and struck out with it Mr Afzal said: “He was acting in a way that he felt instinctively necessary to protect himself, whilst fearing for his life.

“It is clear from the evidence I have seen that Mr Coley was acting in reasonable self defence, and used the degree of force that he believed was necessary.

“Householders, shopkeepers and anyone going about their lawful day to day activities can be reassured that the law will protect them if they use reasonable force to protect themselves, their families and their property.”

Chief Superintendent Mark Roberts defended the decision to arrest Mr Coley and said officers had kept an open-mind throughout the investigation.

Mr Coley, a Jamaican man known affectionately by residents as ‘Pudding’ and described as a regular church goer and ‘lovely family man’, has owned the shop for a number of years and is well known in the community.

Mullings’ brothers Joseph Junior Mullings, 24, from Oakfield, Liverpool, and Kyle Mullings, 18, of no fixed abode, have been charged with robbery.

Nathan Walters, 26, from Thorn Court, Salford, has also been charged with robbery.

They are all due before Minshull Street Crown Court on Thursday October 13.