An alleged knife attacker facing trial by CCTV walked free after the stabbing victim insisted police had got the wrong man.
A detective who viewed footage of the vicious assault told a jury he was “certain” the culprit was Chad Blakeway.
William McMillan, who suffered two knife wounds, refused to give a statement or testify for the Crown.
But he appeared as a defence witness and told Blakeway’s lawyer, Ian Scott, that Blakeway wasn’t responsible.
Blakeway, 26, of Glenallan Terrace, Motherwell, got a not proven verdict after a two-day trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court.
It was not in dispute that McMillan was the victim of an assault to severe injury in Dinmont Crescent, Motherwell, on September 14 last year.
He was chased, stabbed repeatedly and stamped on as he lay on the ground. Mr McMillan was taken to hospital where two wounds to his thigh were each treated with three stitches.
PC David Telfer said he was called to the area to deal with a late night disturbance and found Mr McMillan propped against a fence, with his trousers down, examining his stab wounds.
The officer confirmed he didn’t give police a statement.
CCTV showed the victim standing in the street with three other males.
One of the men went to a nearby house and returned with a knife, confronting Mr McMillan and chasing him along the street.
Footage from another angle showed Mr McMillan falling, being stabbed, getting up and falling again further along the street.
The attacker then chased one of the other men as Mr McMillan limped away.
DC Scott Pollock said police were looking for a man over six feet tall with red hair.
The CCTV was circulated within the police station and Blakeway’s name came up. He was questioned a few weeks after the attack.
When charged with having an offensive weapon that night, he replied: “I don’t know anything about it.”
DC Pollock said one of the other men thought to have been with Mr McMillan was traced, but he claimed he didn’t know who the knifeman was.
The other pal could not be found. The detective added: “He appeared to be evading us for whatever reason.”
Blakeway’s lawyer asked DC Pollock: “Is it your view that it’s Chad Blakeway in the footage?” The detective replied: “Yes.”
Asked if he could be wrong about this identification, he answered: “No. I’m certain.”
DC Pollock said he wouldn’t change his mind even if Mr McMillan himself went into the box to say it wasn’t Blakeway.
The defence promptly called Mr McMillan as a witness and he told Mr Scott the police had put the wrong man on trial.