Man Cleared Of Starting Clothes Shop Fire During Manchester Riots
PRESS ASSOCIATION -- A man who spent nine days in custody charged with setting fire to a clothes store during rioting has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
Dane Williamson, 18, of Salford, was arrested after £319,000 worth of stock was damaged at Miss Selfridge in Manchester city centre.
Footage of the torching in Market Street on August 9 was widely viewed on YouTube and also featured prominently in media coverage of last week's violent disorder across England.
Williamson claimed he was a victim of mistaken identity and said he could prove he was elsewhere at the time of the incident but he was charged with causing criminal damage being reckless as to whether life was endangered - which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
His legal representatives again pleaded his innocence when he made his first appearance at Manchester Magistrates' Court three days later but an application for bail to clear up the matter was refused.
A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: "The evidence against Mr Williamson was based on recognition from visual recordings. However following the charge the police discovered CCTV footage which significantly undermined the case."
A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Police said: "Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service the case of Dane Williamson, who was charged with criminal damage recklessly endangering life, has been discontinued. He has now been released without charge."
Meanwhile, another man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering three Birmingham men who were killed as they tried to protect homes and shops from looters. The 28-year-old from Winson Green was arrested in South Birmingham.
West Midlands Police said a 33-year-old man they arrested on Friday has now been released on police bail. A spokesman said: "A ninth man has today been arrested on suspicion of murdering Shazad Ali, Abdul Musavir and Haroon Jahan."
Four men - Ian Beckford, 30, Joshua Donald, 26, Adam King, 23, and a 17-year-old who cannot be named - have already been charged. Three other males - aged 17, 23, and 32 - have been arrested and bailed pending further inquiries.