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Former firefighters face series of abuse charges
TWO former firefighters facing misconduct charges are accused of indecency, assault, battery and false imprisonment, it has been revealed.
Anthony Benham, 49, from Stanford-le-Hope, and Ian Maguire, 55, from Benfleet, have been ordered to appear in court after a police investigation into institutional abuse by Essex firefighers.
The offences are alleged to have taken place at Tilbury fire station, between 1988 and 1997.
The Crown Prosecution Service has now revealed more details of the charges.
The pair are charged with performing and causing or permitting others to perform acts of indecency, assault, battery and false imprisonment against firefighters on Green Watch.
The allegations amount to misconduct in public office as firefighters should maintain morale, good order and discipline.
Nick Staite, lawyer in the complex casework unit at the the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
“It follows a review of a file of evidence relating to allegations of bullying by some members on a particular watch against other members of the same watch, which included indecent assaults, said to have happened in the 1980s and 1990s.
“Misconduct in public office is a serious offence which carries a sentence of imprisonment.
“I remind all concerned these twomen have a right to a fair trial. It would be inappropriate for me to comment further.”
Benham and Maguire are due to appear at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, July 17.
Police officers interviewed more than 100 people during their investigation into allegations of criminal offences at Tilbury fire station.
Last June Martin Sibley, 48, a firefighter for 24 years, was found hanged at his home in Keymer Way, Colchester, after he has been interviewed by police in relation to the investigation.
An open verdict was recorded at his inquest.
The officers involved in interviewing Mr Sibley were referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, however they told Essex Police they did not need to be involved.