Cwmbran dad-of three helped attacker evade police

Free Press Series: Cwmbran dad-of three helped attacker evade police Cwmbran dad-of three helped attacker evade police

A CWMBRAN man was cleared of causing grievous bodily harm yesterday, but convicted of helping his old schoolfriend evade arrest after an “appalling” attack.

Charles Coia, 27, of Burton’s Place, Llantarnam, helped his friend of 15 years when Martin Vaughan was on the run from police after assaulting his girlfriend’s estranged husband with a stick or bat.

Jocelyn Jones was left with multiple facial fractures and had to stay in hospital for a week.

In the early hours of October 4 last year, Vaughan drove Coia’s car to Rifle Street, Blaenavon, where he bashed through Mr Jones’ door and repeatedly hit him to the head and face. After escaping down the road he drove back to Coia’s house where he stayed on the sofa overnight.

Phone records show Coia remained at home, but that Vaughan drove the car to and from his address.

After more than three hours of deliberation, a jury of seven women and five men acquitted Coia of two counts of GBH, but convicted him of assisting an offender although the verdict was not unanimous.

Father-of-three Coia, who has no previous convictions and denied all counts, put his head in his hands after hearing the guilty verdict at Newport Crown Court.

Throughout the trial, Coia maintained he did not know Vaughan, 29, would take the car to assault Mr Jones and said he did not know of the assault when Vaughan was staying at his house as he was asleep when Vaughan returned.

He said that although he had been in touch with Vaughan during the two months he was wanted by police, he had not been helping Vaughan and had repeatedly urged his friend to hand himself in.

Texts to and from Coia were shown to the jury from the period Vaughan was on the run. In one text to Vaughan, Coia offered to put fuel in his car. There were other texts discussing buying cars and insurance.

Vaughan surrendered to police two months after he attack, texting Coia: “I’m going to hand myself in tomorrow morning and put all this nonsense to bed.

“I appreciate all your love and support. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

Judge Philip Richards said: “You have been convicted of a serious offence.

“The court is bound to consider custody in your case and indeed that is the likely sentence.”

He adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report to be obtained and bailed Coia until he can be sentenced alongside Vaughan in the week beginning January 6.

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