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Man is cleared of murder of Colne grandmother Connie French
1:15pm Tuesday 12th March 2013 in News
A MAN has been dramatically cleared of allegations that he killed an 80-year-old woman in her own home.
Angry scenes erupted in the public gallery in Preston Crown Court this morning as George Portsmouth was found not guilty of murder and an alternative accusation of the manslaughter of Connie French in Colne.
There were gasps before one man jumped up to shout and swear at the jury, claiming it was a "joke" and a woman cried: "I can't believe it" before leaving the courtroom.
The jury had deliberated for more than 11 hours before delivering the verdicts at the end of a two-week trial.
Judge Anthony Russell QC told defence QC Andrew O'Byrne that the defendant, who had been on remand in custody, could be discharged.
It had been claimed he had murdered the grandmother of his then partner, who died in April last year.
Mrs French was found with neck and rib injuries at her home on North Street in the early hours of March 27. A pillow had been placed under her head.
The grandmother went on to give police a video recorded interview from her hospital bed, in which she appeared to claim that Mr Portsmouth, 25, from Varley Street, Colne was the one who harmed her.