A WAR veteran has been cleared of stabbing his neighbour in the neck during a row on their driveways.
Now 89-year-old William has spoken of his relief at no longer being a “prisoner in his own home”.
Mr Dutton was today found not guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and malicious and unlawful wounding to his neighbour, Steven Waring, at Bolton Crown Court.
Recorder Jeremy Lasker directed the jury of eight men and four women to clear him of both counts due to “inconsistencies in the evidence” on the third day of his trial.
The relieved pensioner, who had to wear a police tag, has now vowed to stay away from his neighbour.
Mr Dutton, who served for the Royal Air Force during World War Two in Sierra Leone, said: “I will be putting this behind me and will try to ignore Mr and Mrs Waring.
"I am glad it is all over. It was the first time I had been in court in 89 years.
"Before the trial I felt a bit of tension but I was confident from the beginning I would be found not guilty. I didn’t think I would ever be in this position.
“I had a tag taken off my leg on Tuesday. For about five months I have been confined to my own home.
"I wasn’t even allowed to go into the garden, that was a bit trying. I was a prisoner in my home.”
Bolton Crown Court heard Mr Dutton came out of his home armed with a kitchen knife as he believed Mr Waring had pushed his son, Ronald, who has disabilities, into a gutter.
Recorder Lasker said: “Having considered it all I have come to the conclusion because of the significant inconsistencies between the two eye witness accounts.
"It is for the crown to make you, the jury, sure but you couldn’t possibly convict. Therefore I have come to the conclusion that the case should be withdrawn.”
After Mr Dutton, who has been married to wife Iris for 64 years, was initially charged he was unable to return home due to his bail conditions and spent more than £800 to stay in a Travelodge for 22 nights.
Speaking after he was cleared, the retired engineer said: “I have got my freedom back but I won’t be running about. I am a bit too old for that.
“My wife has been a little bit worried and couldn’t see why I hadn’t got off earlier.”