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Pensioner gets justice

Florist Cecil Coley, 72, stabbed robber in self defence

A BLACK pensioner who was previously arrested by police on suspicion of murder after taking on two intruders, who tried to rob his flower shop, will not face charges.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said earlier today (September 7) that florist Cecil Coley, 72, will not face a court for stabbing to death one of the robbers as he defended himself in his business, which he has run in Old Trafford in Manchester for 40 years.

The CPS has also concluded that he should not face any charges for injuring a second man who was stabbed in the incident.

Nazir Afzal, chief crown prosecutor for the North West Area said that he was satisfied “after considering all the statements and other evidence gathered by Greater Manchester Police that Mr Coley was acting in reasonable self-defence at the time, and should not be prosecuted for any offence over the death of Gary Mullings.”

Afzal said: “It is difficult to envisage a more frightening set of circumstances than these. Four men, armed with guns and a knife, forced their way into the shop as Mr Coley was locking up. Mr Coley received a number of injuries, including a serious facial injury, and his friend was knocked unconscious. At some point in the incident one of the guns, a blank firing pistol, was fired.

“All the evidence indicates that when Cecil Coley took hold of a knife that was on the shop counter and struck out with it 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 when he fatally stabbed Garry Mullings and injured another of the intruders. I am therefore satisfied that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute Mr Coley for the stabbings.”

Afzal added: “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.”

According to reports, Coley was playing dominoes with a friend on July 26 when the armed men entered the Flowers, Frills and Feather shop.

A struggle is said to have ensued in which the 30-year-old man, later identified as Mullings, suffered a knife wound to the chest.

He was taken to hospital but died a short time later police, said. A 19-year-old man, also treated for stab wounds, was later arrested.

Coley, a well-known community figure, was also treated for non life-threatening injuries at Trafford General Hospital.

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