Gainsborough man cleared

NEWS: The Gainsborough Standard

NEWS: The Gainsborough Standard

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A GAINSBOROUGH pensioner has been cleared of a string of sex offences.

Frederick Conway, who lives in sheltered accommodation in the town, was accused of 16 sex offences including indecent assault.

Four counts of rape were withdrawn from the case due to lack of evidence.

The 72-year-old, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, was deemed unfit to enter a plea or appear in person by a judge at Lincoln Crown Court.

Judge Recorder Philpotts told the jury they would not be finding Conway guilty or not guilty. Instead they had to ‘make determinations about whether he did the acts alleged against him’.

On Thursday, the jury of 11 women and one man, took just one hour to decide he did not commit any of the assaults.

Adrienne Lucking, prosecuting, had told the court the offences were against two female victims between September 1976 and July 2009.

On Wednesday the court heard from both victims, who cannot be named to protect their identities.

Mrs Lucking, told the court that Conway sexually assaulted one of his victims, then aged nine, on two occasions in July 2009.

She said the offences against the second victim occurred over a 10 year period between 1976 and 1986, starting when she was around eight or nine-years-old.

The allegations were reported to the police in 2009. The court heard that Conway denied all charges in his police interview.

Julie Warburton, defending, questioned inconsistencies in the evidence made by one of the alleged victims, and asked the jury: “Can you really be sure these things happened?”

Before the jury went out to consider its verdict, Recorder Philpotts told them: “You have to be sure the alleged victims are telling the truth and that their evidence is accurate and reliable.”

“Experience shows children do not always act the same way as adults do when giving evidence.”