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 prison.

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 previously sentenced to 10 years in prison in April 2021 for their roles in the crime.

Giving evidence, 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.

READ MORE: Christopher Doughty phone data described as 'fragmented'

"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, emphasising 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.

On Tuesday, November 14, DC Thomas Bailey, the officer in the case was cross-examined by Doughty's defence about several phone numbers and calls made from inside HMP Erlestoke to external numbers.

The court heard that a series of phone calls were made between numbers the police believe belonged to Doughty, his granddaughter’s partner Valants, Martin and a 'burner' phone.

Defending, Gordon Carse highlighted that there was a building around 30 metres from the cell that Doughty was housed in that had been demolished between the robbery and the survey, which could have “potentially” negatively impacted radio signals for phone calls to be made from inside the cell.

DC Bailey told the jury that he carried out a number of test phone calls from inside one of the cells at HMP Erlestoke. 

The trial continues.