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Atherstone fire victim's widow 'devastated' by verdicts

Category: England

Published: 31st May 2012 11:11:38

The widow of a firefighter who died after a warehouse blaze has said she is "devastated" two senior fire officers were cleared of his manslaughter.

Julie Reid's husband Ian and three other firefighters died after tackling the fire in Atherstone-on-Stour, Warwickshire, in 2007.

Incident commanders Timothy Woodward and Adrian Ashley were cleared on Wednesday over their deaths.

Fire service officer Paul Simmons was acquitted five weeks into the trial.

Mrs Reid, speaking at a press conference at Warwickshire Police's headquarters in Leek Wootton, said: "I'm devastated the jury returned a not guilty verdict in court but realise that I have to accept their decision.

"The three original defendants were portrayed as experienced firefighters and incident commanders and their crews defended them as so.

"If their crews were so confident in their abilities as incident commanders and were so confident of the decisions made on that fateful night, why then did those firefighters not have the courage of their convictions to tell it like it was that night when questioned by police or when taking the witness stand?

"Why would they not want to tell the truth about that night and why would the defendants not want to give their accounts?

"The incident commanders and Warwickshire firefighters should hang their heads in shame.

"All I ever wanted to know was what happened that night and have questions answered but I don't feel that that has happened."

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BBC News, 2012. Atherstone fire victim's widow 'devastated' by verdicts [Online] (Updated 31st May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1431990/Atherstone-fire-victims-widow-devastated-by-verdicts [Accessed 2nd Sep 2014]

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