A train passenger has been cleared of pulling a knife on a surfer after a jury heard it was just an attack of the vapers.
Sean Monger was found not guilty on the directions of the judge because two key witnesses said the object they saw in his hand may have been an electronic cigarette rather than a knife.
The prosecution withdrew the case at Exeter Crown Court after the jury had heard a day of evidence and watched enhanced CCTV of the incident just outside Teignmouth station.
Judge Erik Salomonsen ordered that two knives which were seized from Monger during the investigation should be forfeited and told him his behaviour had been irresponsible.
He said: ’Your conduct was irresponsible and you behaved extremely badly. To some extent you brought this prosecution on yourself.’
Monger, aged 49, of Maple Road, Exeter, denied making threats with a knife outside the station on Saturday, June 11 last year and was found not guilty.
Student Jay Davison alleged he was threatened with a knife after getting off an Exeter to Teignmouth train and accidentally side swiping Monger with his boogie board.
He said Monger remonstrated with him as they left the station and told him: ’You better watch that surf board or I will snap it in half and shove it up your a**e’.
He told the jury he waited for his father to turn up in his car and as he was loading the board into the boot Monger had approached him brandishing a knife.
His father and another passenger initially told police they also saw a knife but when they were shown Monger’s silver electronic vaper they agreed they may have mistaken it for a weapon.
Part of the incident was caught on CCTV at the station concourse but the footage was not clear enough to show what Monger had in his hand, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Monger, aged 49, of Maple Road, Exeter, denied making threats with a knife outside the station on Saturday, June 11 last year.
He denied carrying a knife at all and said Mr Davison and his father, who picked him up from the station, mistook a vaporiser spray or a spectacles case for a weapon.
Mr Gareth Evans, prosecuting, decided to halt the case in the light of the fresh evidence.
Monger did not give evidence but had always insisted he did not have a knife. He told police the object in his hand was either his electronic cigarette or a pair of glasses.