October 25 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
A POLICE constable once hailed as a hero for saving a suicidal man has been acquitted of trying to strangle his police officer girlfriend.
Alan Conran, who lived with Sophie Wolfenden at her terraced home in Witham, Essex, was found not guilty of assault by beating when he appeared before Ipswich magistrates.
During a day-long trial it was alleged Conran had kneeled on Miss Wolfenden’s arms, pinning her to the floor while throttling her with both hands for 15 seconds.
Giving evidence Miss Wolfenden said: “I thought that I was going to die.”
However, Conran told magistrates it was him, not Miss Wolfenden, who had been the victim of domestic violence.
He claimed she had assaulted him on the night on October 11, the day before the alleged throttling incident.
The 35-year-old said Miss Wolfenden had pushed him against a wall and pummelled him on the back of the head at their home on October 11.
Conran sent a text relating to the incident to Pc Rebecca Knott, whom he said he was a friend of at the time, but is now in a relationship with.
Conran told the court he was acting in self-defence during the incident October 12 when he alleged Miss Wolfenden had hit him on the back of the head and grabbed his neck while they were in the kitchen.
He denied throttling the firearms officer for 15 seconds, telling the court he was trying to get up to leave after the pair fell on to the floor.
Conran’s solicitor Rob Newbould told the court: “We have got two police officers. One of them isn’t tell the truth.”
Clearing Conran of assault the chairman of the bench said: “We found that the version of events given by Mr Conran was more credible, particularly taking into account the content of the text message the night before.
“We are satisfied Mr Conran was acting in self defence.”
The court had previously heard the pair’s relationship, which began in March 2009, had been on the rocks for some time.
On October 12 a row had blown up over a post Miss Wolfenden put on the social media site Facebook about her boyfriend not wanting to kiss her.
Conran, who was in the same room, found out about it through a text from his sister and posted a derogatory message on her Facebook page.
A row ensued which led to Conran being about to move out of Miss Wolfenden’s home when the alleged domestic violence occurred.
In July 2009 Conran and Miss Wolfenden saved a drunken man’s life as he tried to hurl himself of a footbridge in Basildon.
Conran – who had been a paramedic in London for nine years before joining Essex Constabulary six years ago – had responded to a 999 call with Miss Wolfenden.
While the 23-year-old stopped the traffic, Conran grabbed the 44-year-old man as he let go of the railings and managed to pull him back over the bridge.
The man was detained under the Mental Health Act.
In 2008 Conran also saved two elderly women from a house fire in Pitsea.