• Mon. May 27th, 2024

Abingdon aggravated burglary accused deny attacking ‘drug dealer’


Aug 12, 2022

A pair went mob-handed to frighten a man they believed had been selling drugs to children, a jury heard.

Christopher McKeown, 41, admitted taking a machete to the confrontation with Karl McKenzie on February 7, but claimed he had only intended to scare the alleged dealer rather than injure or steal from him.

Jurors at Oxford Crown Court heard he was injured himself when Mr McKenzie, who denied suggestions he was a drug dealer, ‘charged’ at him, they tussled over the machete he had brought, and the other man stabbed him in the leg with a fork.

Beside him in the dock is Shaun Collett, 36, who denies aggravated burglary and claims to have been sleeping when McKeown set off to Mr McKenzie’s home in Saxton Road, Abingdon.

In his defence statement, drafted by his lawyers and allegedly agreed during a meeting held over the prison video link, McKeown named Collett as the man who went with him to the showdown with the alleged dealer.

But he rowed back from that position when he gave evidence in his own defence on Thursday afternoon, telling the jury that he had told his lawyers to put ‘co-defendant’ and that he had refused to sign the statement. He refused to tell the court whether or not Collett was with him during the incident in February.

Cross-examining, prosecutor Julian Lynch pointed out that there were only two defendants in the dock – and accused the man in the stand of ‘playing semantic games’.

Mr Lynch added: “Shaun Collett is the man who went with you to Saxton Road isn’t he?” But McKeown stood his ground, responding: “I’m not saying that.”

The machete man told jurors that he had travelled back to Abingdon from Bristol, where he worked, for holiday during which he had binged on Valium and had to visit hospital a number of times.

While staying at the flat of Collett’s girlfriend, he received a call from an unnamed friend alleging Mr McKenzie had sold drugs to that person’s teenage daughter.

McKeown claimed to have bought drugs from the man for ’20, 25 years’. “He was doing it to me. I was buying them when I was 15,” he told the jury.

Mr Lynch asked: “So, what’s changed?” McKeown replied: “It was a little bit closer to home.”

Quizzed by the prosecutor, he acknowledged it was an ‘occupational hazard’ for drug dealers to be robbed of cash or their wares. But he said there was ‘no intention to steal anything – not even to hurt him’. He claimed he was acting in ‘self-defence’ when he was fighting Mr McKenzie.

Prosecutors say Mr McKenzie was attacked by two men armed with a machete and D-lock, after the pair went into a shed at his Saxton Road home.

The jury heard a transcript read out from co-defendant Collett’s police interview. He denied involvement in the alleged aggravated burglary, telling detectives he was asleep having got ‘absolutely w*****ed’. “I took so many tablets you wouldn’t understand,” he said.

Collett, of Brampton Close, Abingdon, and McKeown, of no fixed address, deny aggravated burglary, causing actual bodily harm and weapons offences.

McKeown has admitted possession of the machete, although claimed the he did not own the knife and found it behind the sofa in Collett's partner's flat.

The trial continues.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward