Knifeman tried to rob mother and daughter at a cemetery, jury told

A knifeman tried to rob a mother and daughter as they laid flowers at a cemetery, prosecutors allege.

Mark Cavanagh, 30, denies two counts of attempted robbery and having a bladed article, a kitchen knife.

The pair had been laying flowers at the gravestone of the daughter’s brother, at Greenacres Cemetery in Oldham on a Sunday afternoon, the court heard.

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They said a man with a knife demanded cash and the keys to their BMW.

“The next thing I knew a male was holding a knife to my daughter’s throat,” the mum said in a statement heard at Minshull Street Crown Court.

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“I really thought he was going to kill her, the knife was going everywhere.”

The man fled the scene after the incident, which lasted about four minutes.

Jurors heard Mr Cavanagh was seen on CCTV in the area, but he denies being the man responsible.

“There is no question in this case that they were the victims of an attempted robbery,” prosecutor Rachel Faux told jurors.

“The issue you will have to decide is whether you are sure it was Mark Cavanagh who attempted to rob them.”

The court heard that the pair had been laying flowers and tending to the gravestone, at about 2.30pm on Sunday, July 21, 2019, when they heard a noise.

Minshull Street Crown Court
(Image: MEN)

“The next thing I knew I was on the floor and my daughter had fallen into me,” the mum said.

She had been pushed and fell to the ground. The man had a face covering which ‘kept coming loose’, the daughter said.

Noting the incident took place before coronavirus, Ms Faux alleged it was a ‘deliberate attempt…to conceal his identity’.

The man grabbed the daughter and shouted ‘give me the f****** keys’, the court heard.

She said she didn’t have any keys, and her mother told her he had a knife.

“I’m not f****** about, give me the keys,” he said.

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He grabbed hold of the daughter’s arm, she grabbed hold of his arm, and they both ended up on the floor.

Jurors heard the man demanded car keys again, and then made demands for money.

He grabbed hold of the handle of her mother’s handbag, and the daughter also grabbed hold.

The mum said: “She was so brave, she stood in front of me and protected me. He was trying to get my handbag and she wouldn’t let go.

“She was telling him I had already had a stroke and I was going to have a heart attack. The whole incident felt like it went on forever, and it wasn’t going to end.”

After a struggle, the handle snapped off and the man ran out of the cemetery.

Greenacres Cemetery
(Image: Google Streetview)

The daughter helped her mum up from the floor, and they sat in the car and called the police.

CCTV footage was examined and Mr Cavanagh was identified as having been in the area.

He was arrested, and in interview said it was an area he would cut through from his house.

He told officers he couldn’t remember where he was on the day of the incident.

Neither the daughter, or a woman who said she was ‘suspicious’ of a man she saw near the cemetery, picked out the defendant in an identity procedure.

Mr Cavanagh, of Vulcan Street, Oldham, denies two counts of attempted robbery and having a bladed article.

Proceeding.

Manchester Evening News – Oldham