Woman, 61, cleared of masked knife raid in Newcastle

Doris Foulis

Doris Foulis said she will have to move house

A pensioner has been cleared of trying to rob her elderly friend of 20 years at knifepoint.

Doris Foulis, 61, from Walker, Newcastle was accused of wearing a ski mask to hold up her neighbour Jeanette Hetherington, 70, in October.  After a four-day trial at Newcastle Crown Court, jurors took less than an hour to find Mrs Foulis not guilty of attempted robbery.

Speaking outside court, she said she was delighted with the verdict.

Prosecutors claimed Mrs Foulis burst into her neighbour’s home in Parsons Avenue, Walker, Newcastle, armed with a knife and demanded money.

It was claimed Mrs Foulis pushed Mrs Hetherington down stairs, breaking her thigh bone.  Mrs Hetherington told jurors that she instantly recognised her assailant’s voice and “waddle walk”.  She told the court: “I got the shock of my life because she had a ski mask on and a knife in her hand, with the blade pointed towards me.  “The blade was about three inches, I think, but I was in total shock.”  Mrs Hetherington added that Mrs Foulis tried to disguise her voice when she said: “Give me your money”.

‘Move house’

Jurors were told that Mrs Foulis then removed the mask and knife, turned to Mrs Hetherington as she lay injured at the bottom of the stairs and said “Don’t say anything, and I won’t take your money.”   Mrs Foulis then raised the alarm, the court heard, and said she had found Mrs Hetherington lying on the floor.

Mrs Hetherington was taken to Newcastle General Hospital where she spent more than 10 days and now walks with the aid of a walking stick.  Mrs Foulis had denied a charge of attempted robbery. Other charges of grievous bodily harm and possession of a blade were dropped by the prosecution.

Speaking outside the court Mrs Foulis said she would have to move house: “I don’t know what the future holds.  “I feel I have to watch my back. I have never slept for months.”  Mrs Foulis said she had been diagnosed with angina and blamed the stress of the court case.

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