Pair cleared of machete attack on fighter

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The Independent Online

Two men have been cleared of hacking a bare-knuckle fighter known as the "King of the Gypsies" with machetes.

A jury was discharged in February after it failed to reach a verdict in the trial of Alexander Varey, 20, and George Miller, 18, who had denied wounding Louis Welch with intent.

The Crown Prosecution Service chose to press for a second trial but yesterday offered no evidence at Carlisle Crown Court.

During the first trial, evidence from eyewitnesses suggested Mr Welch, from Darlington, County Durham, was attacked by a group of up to eight men at a harness racing event in Appleby, Cumbria, last May.

The 40-year-old suffered deep wounds to his left arm and back in the attack.

Both defendants, from Lancaster, were formally found not guilty after prosecutor Michael Scholes said doubts had arisen from the first trial about a text message sent from Miller's phone which placed him in Kirkby Stephen just 12 minutes after the first 999 call over the incident.

It meant that Miller would have had to drive more than 12 miles from Appleby on winding rural roads in the short space of time.

The victim refused to make a formal statement or give evidence in the case because he said it was against the travellers' code to do so.