Historic sex offence charges against Essex firefighter dropped
- Credit: Lucy taylor
Five charges of alleged historic sex offences at an Essex fire brigade training centre in Witham have been dropped by prosecutors.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) today offered no evidence against Mark Wilson, 51, during a hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Mr Wilson, from Thorley Park, Bishop’s Stortford, had denied five allegations of indecent assault which were said to have taken place at the Essex County Fire & Rescue Service (ECFRS) training centre in Witham in 1989 and 1990.
The senior divisional officer and former west area commander was summonsed to court last Spring following a lengthy police investigation after allegations were first raised in December 2012. He was due to stand trial in April.
Following the decision by the CPS in court today, Judge Christopher Ball QC directed not guilty verdicts on each charge.
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An internal ECFRS investigation into the claims is ongoing.
Adam Eckley, Acting Chief Fire Officer, said: “ECFRS has been informed by Essex Police that the CPS has officially dropped charges brought against Mark Wilson in respect of historical allegations of misconduct allegedly perpetrated at its training establishment.
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“The service is pleased this matter is now concluded. We are clear that any kind of intimidation, bullying or assault is totally unacceptable within ECFRS.
“Following a review of culture published last year, we are moving forward as an organisation through a period of change and transformation. We are determined to have a modern service with the right values throughout the entire organisation and are working hard to achieve that objective.”
Two other senior firefighters, Anthony Benham, 50, of Stanford-le-Hope and Ian Maguire, 55, of Benfleet, were both cleared of four charges of indecent assault and 10 of false imprisonment relating to alleged initiation ceremonies by a jury in July last year.