TWO Wirral men accused of a violent attack on a builder have both been cleared after their trial collapsed.

In a dramatic move on the second day of the hearing, and before any witnesses had been called to give evidence, the prosecution announced that they had decided to offer no evidence.

In the dock at Liverpool Crown Court was Paul Winskill, director of a Liverpool road surfacing firm, and Matthew Clarke, himself the victim of a violent attack in an unrelated incident.

On the judge’s directions the jury formally found them both not guilty of assaulting Michael Wainwright causing actual bodily harm on February 16 last year.

50-year-old Winskill, of Croft Drive West, Caldy, and Clarke, 41, of Prenton Park Road, Prenton, both agreed to be bound over the keep the peace in the sum of £500 for the next 12 months. They were then both discharged from the dock.

Zia Chaudhry, prosecuting, explained to the jury that the prosecution has an on-going duty to keep cases under review and after discussions with the CPS lawyer it had been decided to offer no further evidence.

The reasons included the fact that the victim alleged it had been a serious sustained attack committed by ten or 11 men involving kicking and punching and weapons including a knife had been involved.

“In short, the medical evidence does not appear consistent with the injuries as alleged by the complainant and certainly not consistent with the assault.”

He said severe bruising would have been expected and, while there was reference to fractures, this was not borne out by X-rays. He had also not initially wanted to make a statement.

Mr Chaudhry said there was no witness to the alleged attack in Mr Winskill’s home and a prosecution witness had made a further statement which caused considerable doubt on his original statement.

He said the decision had not been made for one single concern but the cumulative effect of various aspects of the evidence.

The two men had also been charged with falsely imprisoning Mr Wainwright, though that charge was not before the jury, and not guilty verdicts were formally recorded by the judge.

When the trial opened on Monday Mr Chaudhry said that Mr Wainwright had gone to Mr Winskill’s home by arrangement to collect an outstanding debt after his firm, Wainwright Construction had carried out £12,000 worth of work there.