A MAN on trial for allegedly helping to plan a robbery from his prison cell told the jurors that he has never bought or borrowed a mobile phone inside the jail.

Christopher Doughty, 62, is accused of conspiring with Eriks Valants and Jed Martin to rob the home of Susan Hunt in Leckford, near Stockbridge, on March 23, 2020, from his cell at HMP Erlestoke.

Valants and Martin were sentenced to 10 years in prison in April 2021 for their roles in the crime.

During his testimony at Winchester Crown Court, Doughty denied claims that he had ever used a 'burner' phone, a point contested by the prosecution, which alleges that he made a series of phone calls and sent text messages to Valants and Martin around the time of the robbery.

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"I have never bought or borrowed a mobile phone inside the prison," Doughty told the court.

He went on to tell the jurors that other inmates in his prison wing, including Valants and Martin, had utilised such devices, but he had abstained from doing so.

Doughty claimed that even though he was entitled to a television or radio, he couldn't use it because neither device had a signal inside his cell.

Valants and Martin were at HMP Erlestoke when Doughty was moved there in February 2020, a month before the robbery.

Doughty also said he knew both Valants and Martin before that. Valants had been his granddaughter's boyfriend, and Martin was a friend of his son.

He told the court of another inmate, Amareece Taak, who also knew Valants and Martin and had access to a mobile phone.

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Doughty also maintained that he had never been to Leckford, where the robbery took place, and was unfamiliar with the victim, Susan Hunt.

The prosecution's case hinges on the assertion that Doughty communicated with Valants and Martin before and during the robbery.

Prosecutor Andrew Houston provided the jurors with a background on Doughty's criminal history, emphasizing two previous convictions in 2008 and 2015, both involving robberies where the perpetrator wore black clothes, a balaclava, and used duct tape to restrain the victims.