A Sunday newspaper has claimed that there are now more eyewitness accounts of Boris Johnson’s senior aide in Barnard Castle – including Cummings walking around the shops.
The new allegations contradict a statement made by Dominic Cummings in the Rose Garden at Downing Street.
Cummings told a press conference: ‘We walked about 10 to 15 metres from the car to the river bank nearby. We sat there for about 15 minutes. We had no interactions with anybody. I felt better. We returned to the car.’
After that, he insisted the family ‘headed home’ to his parents’ farm.
But the Sunday Times reports fresh sightings of Cummings in Barnard Castle on Easter Sunday, the day that was also his wife Mary Wakefield’s birthday.
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Rosalind Evans, a retired council worker, gave a police statement.
She says she spotted Cummings in the Market Place – the main throughfare where the shops are – with a ‘group of people’ at ‘around lunchtime’.
Alan Gowland, a retired Glaxo Smith Kline engineer, said he passed Cummings on a narrow path at a place known as Scar Top walkway.
‘I am 100% certain it was him,’ Gowland said. ‘I have a friend who looks a bit like Cummings. At first I thought it was him. I didn’t have my glasses on and I saw him coming and thought it was Richard.
‘I put my glasses on and as we walked past each other I thought, ‘I recognise this guy.’ His wife and child were behind him on the path. And he was walking ahead.’
‘He behaved responsibly,’ he added. ‘I have no criticism of that. And I wouldn’t like to see him lose his job, either. I watched him on TV during his press conference on Monday. I thought to myself — ‘he’s a clever man’. He’s like Paul Newman in that film, Cool Hand Luke. Calm as anything.’
Retired chemistry teacher Robin Lees, an original eyewitness, saw him walking on a road called The Sills which runs nearby.
‘He was walking towards his car, then he got in and drove away,’ he said. He describes him as driving a ‘Land Rover’ type car and had written down the ‘distinctive’ number plate.
This claim is supported by Cummings’ own claims that he had been near the river bank.
Downing Street denied the story.
A spokesperson said: ‘These allegations are untrue. The police investigation found that in travelling to Durham, Mr Cummings did not commit an offence and no further action will be taken.
‘The prime minister has said he believes Mr Cummings behaved reasonably and legally given all the circumstances and he regards this issue as closed.’