Date: 13 Aug 1994
Fred Franks died from a heart attack a few minutes after he was robbed by some youths.
A 19-year old youth was charged with his manslaughter at the Old Bailey but the case was thrown out after the prosecution failed to prove that the 19-year old youth had used violence or threats of violence.
Fred Franks was a taxi driver.
Three youths had hired his cab and then the 19-year old youth had stolen his mobile phone, some letters and keys. A few minutes after the theft, Fred Franks was driving along New Cross Road in Peckham when he collapsed and crashed into a traffic light at the junction with Ilderton Road. He was taken to hospital but died within an hour.
At the trial the prosecution said that Fred Franks death was due to the stress of being robbed but the defence counsel said that the prosecution had failed to prove that the 19-year old youth had used any violence or threats of violence during the robbery. It was heard that without the violence or threats of violence that the act of stealing Fred Franks's possessions was in law just theft, and not robbery, and that as such, without the charge of robbery the charge of manslaughter would also fail because there was no proof of violence or threats of violence to cause his death.
As such, the judge directed the jury to enter formal not guilty verdicts on the robbery and manslaughter charges and the 19-year old youth was convicted of theft and sentenced to four months in a young offenders' institution. As such, because of the amount of time that he had been in custody, he was allowed to walk free from the court.
The 19-year old youth was a fashion student at Lewisham College.
Fred Franks was a taxi driver from Hendon in north London.
see Daily Express Mon 31 Jul 1995 Page 19