'It's been three years of hell': Ex-police officer accused of fighting in Walsall pub cleared in court
An off-duty police officer accused of fighting in Walsall town centre has been cleared of any wrongdoing and said he was relieved the case was over.
Aaron Richardson, 44, has been found not guilty of one count of affray in relation to allegation that he exchanged blows with two men, in Darwall Street, on November 22, 2019.
Mr Richardson, of Blakenall, Walsall, denied the offence resulting in a jury trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
Giving evidence he told the jury that he was not the aggressor and was simply protecting his family, when the incident involving Anthony Hines and Wayne Jones happened.
The jury heard that he and Mr Hines, a relative of his ex-partner, knew each other and had been involved in a altercation some years previously. He said he felt Mr Hines had taken a dislike to him due to him being a police officer at the time.
The now retired West Midlands Police Officer and members of his family had been inside The Registry, in Leicester Street, when there was an alleged altercation between his son and Mr Hines which then escalated into a confrontation and then a fight outside in the street.
Footage of the alleged incident was captured on closed circuit cameras, however, in an unanimous verdict on Thursday the jury acquitted the defendant of any blame for what happened.
Speaking to the Express & Star following the not guilty verdict, the defendant said: "I am so glad it's all over. It's been three years of hell. I've really been through the ringer.
"I had post traumatic stress and anxiety and depression. I was injured while on duty in 2017 when I was assaulted by a man who was jailed for 10 months for assaulting me.
"I was helping an elderly man who was quite poorly and was waiting for an ambulance when a member of the public came into the property and caused an altercation. I fell to the floor and badly injured my arm.
"I had to have surgery. A muscle was removed and there was an issue with the nerve. I'm still being treated. I was given desk duties at work as a result.
"My consultant has since told me that at the time of the affray allegation I was still being affected by the 2017 incident. Even my family told me that I wasn't okay.
"I have lost my career now. I retired from the force on Christmas Eve last year I couldn't carried on due to the injury. But most of all I'm relieved for my son because his life has been on hold due to the case," he added.