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Sunday, November 1, 1998 Published at 01:03 GMT


Man charged over Davies robbery

Ron Davies: "Moment of madness"

A 38-year-old man has appeared in court charged with the robbery of former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies.

Chris West reports from Camberwell Green magistrates court
Homeless Donald Fearon is charged with stealing the former minister's Ford Granada after Mr Davies met him at Clapham Common in south London.

Mr Davies, 52, later described the incident as a "grievous error of judgement" and resigned as minister.

Mr Fearon was remanded in custody by Camberwell Green magistrates in south London. There was no application for bail.

Mhari Urquhart, prosecuting, said: "Mr Davies was walking along a pavement behind the Windmill pub on Clapham Common at about 7.45pm on Monday when he met a man not known to him.

[ image: Donald Fearon arrives at the court]
Donald Fearon arrives at the court
"He described the man as 5ft 7ins with a heavy accent wearing a brightly coloured jacket.

"He made conversation with the man and continued to walk through the Common and agreed to go for a drink or meal, but at that stage Mr Davies intended to return to his flat.

"They got into Mr Davies' gold Ford Granada car and they went for a short walk through Battersea Park.

"They then returned in the car to the man's flat in the Brixton area where they were joined in the car by another man and woman."

The prosecution allege that it was here where Mr Davies was robbed at knifepoint by the trio.

He had his wallet stolen containing cash, his Labour Party card and conference pass, and also his mobile phone.

Ms Urquhart told the courtroom, which was packed with journalists: "He was told if he wanted his car back he should contact them the following day."

Mr Fearon will appear at the court again on 16 November.

Wearing a dark jacket, blue jeans and red lace-up boots, Mr Fearon was led into the cells by two officers following the 20-minute hearing.

Four other people arrested over the incident remain on bail. Police inquiries are continuing.

Next step

Mr Davies said the events on Clapham Common were a "moment of madness" for which he paid a heavy price.

He also denied the prime minister and other party leaders had pressurised him into resigning from the Cabinet and standing down as Labour's prospective leader of the Welsh Assembly.

The party's executive in Wales is due to meet on Monday to agree the next step in electing a successor to Mr Davies.

Alun Michael, the former Home Office minister who succeeded Mr Davies as Welsh Secretary, is one of those expected to campaign for the leadership.

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