Devon pensioner cleared of homophobic intimidation

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A 67-year-old man who is the subject of a restraining order has been found not guilty of continuing to harass a gay couple after a four day trial at Exeter Crown Court.

Dennis Scanes lived in a local authority property on the same street as Kevin Whitburn and Andrew Brown in Alphington, Devon.

The couple live with Mr Whitburn’s 80-year-old mother.

They took out a restraining order on Mr Scanes last April after suffering abuse, but went back to court with video evidence they claimed showed the order had been breached.

During the course of the trail Mr Whitburn broke down in tears as a defence barrister accused him of making a mountain out of a molehill.

Mr Whitburn admitted that Mr Scanes reminded him of the man who had sexually abused him as a child.

Mr Scanes was accused of parking his car close to the gay couple’s house, making a stabbing motion with his car keys, scratching their car and making gestures towards them.

In an attempt to gather evidence against Mr Scanes, Mr Whitburn regularly filmed the pensioner and the court was shown footage of Scanes doing a pretend striptease.

The prosecution argued that the pensioner’s actions were motivated by anti-gay feelings.

The defence argued that Mr Scanes was acting up to the camera as a result of being persistently filmed and that Mr Whitburn had a vendetta against Mr Scanes.

The jury of seven men and five women found the defendant not guilty on all seven charges of breaching his restraining order.

Mr Scanes, who is still subject to the order, told the Exeter Express Echo,

“I am happy with the result. Exeter City Council served me with an injunction order and I have to come back here on Tuesday for them to try and evict me. Hopefully, with this result, they won’t.”