1. ITV Report

Three cleared over robbery plot

Three men have been cleared of plotting a robbery with a father-of-two who was shot dead by police.

Anthony Grainger, 36, died of a single gunshot wound to the chest after the vehicle he was in was stopped in a car park in the village of Culcheth, Cheshire, on March 3.

Armed officers swooped on the stolen Audi in a "pre-planned operation" as an officer fired a bullet which passed through the windscreen and hit Mr Grainger.

His associates, David Totton, 33, and Joseph Travers, 27, were arrested at the scene wearing balaclavas rolled up on their heads.

Another man, Robert Rimmer, 26, was arrested the following day.

Mr Totton, of Rochdale Road, Manchester, Mr Travers, of no fixed address, and Mr Rimmer, of Ainsbrook Avenue, New Moston, were found not guilty yesterday of conspiracy to rob by a jury at Manchester Crown Court.

The prosecution claimed the trio were part of a team who scouted for locations to rob large amounts of cash.

The men, including Mr Grainger, were allegedly linked to the movement of two stolen cars, the Audi and a BMW, through police surveillance, phone evidence and CCTV. The vehicles were said to have been used to carry out reconnaissance on a G4S cash delivery van depot in Stoke-on-Trent in January.

A branch of Sainsbury's in Culcheth was alleged to be another target which was close to where Mr Grainger was shot.

No weapons were found in the Audi.

The jury was told that Mr Grainger was shot by police but the circumstances surrounding his death were not relevant to the issues in the case.

Giving evidence, Mr Totton denied he was in Culcheth to plan a robbery and was instead helping Mr Grainger retrieve #10,000 owed by a local man.

A campaign group, Justice4Grainger, regularly held protests outside court during the trial and handed out leaflets to the public.

The protesters complained that Grainger had been indicted into the trial without the right to defend himself.

His mother, Marina, has said she wants the firearms officer who shot her son to be charged with murder.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating his death and will pass on its finding to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider the evidence.

Following the verdict, Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: "Greater Manchester Police notes the verdict in the trial of three men accused of conspiracy to commit robbery.

"As there is an independent investigation into police actions being carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is pertinent to the case that was brought to court, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

Salford-born Mr Grainger, of Deane Church Lane, Bolton, was described as an "odd job man" at the opening of his inquest in March.

He was a defendant in a multimillion-pound drugs trial which led to a juror being jailed for contempt of court for exchanging Facebook messages with a co-defendant.

Mr Grainger was later cleared of conspiracy to supply drugs but had already admitted handling stolen cars in connection with the case and was jailed for 20 months in 2011.

Mr Totton survived a gangland assassination attempt in a crowded pub six years ago.

He was gunned down as two masked hitmen burst into the Brass Handles on a Sunday afternoon in Salford.

He survived when the 9mm handgun of one of his assailants jammed and the pair were jumped on by drinkers and disarmed.

The raiders were shot in the chest themselves before they staggered outside and were beaten as they lay dying.

No-one was charged over the March 2006 murders of would-be assassins Richard Austin, 19, and Carlton Alveranga, 20.

In October 2007 Totton was jailed for four-and-a-half years after attacking two car park attendants at a casino in Manchester when they tried to help eject him and his friends.