May 21 2013 Latest news:
Safira Ali, Senior reporter
Saturday, January 19, 2013
A London fireman from Brentwood has spoken out for the first time about his year of “hell” after he was accused of being part of an Essex drugs gang.
Daniel Oughton, 35, a full-time Tottenham fireman, has always denied conspiracy to supply cocaine between April 15 and October 13, 2011, and being part of the drugs ring.
And after a seven-week trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, a jury found him not guilty on Monday.
When the verdict was announced, the father-of-one wiped a tear from his eye as he sat in the dock before he was discharged, while his friends whooped with joy.
This week he told the Recorder: “It’s been hell. The last 15 months have been incredibly distressing and stressful for me and my family, culminating in a trial. I could not have got through this without the support of my family and close friends, and I will be forever grateful to my fantastic legal team of Philip Misner, Natalie Sherborn and Tony Marshall for their hard work and belief in me.
“I now can’t wait to get back to work as a London firefighter and to spend some much-needed quality time with my wife and baby daughter, Ava, who is three months old.
“It has been extremely hard for my wife but we have remained strong throughout. We have not allowed it to affect our daughter, and she is doing great.
“During the trial I’ve been lucky to have such huge support from all my family and friends. It’s only made us a stronger family unit.”
Also on trial was Matthew Goodyear, 34, of Thorndon Hall, Thorndon Park, Ingrave, Brentwood, who was found guilty of the same charge.
He and six others, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, will all be sentenced on February 28.
Judge Christopher Ball QC remanded Goodyear in custody.
The other defendants who will be sentenced next month are: Roger Higgins, 29, of Foxglove Road, Rush Green, Romford; Glen Bingle, 37, of Tring Gardens, Romford; Darren Walter, 42, of Colne Drive, Harold Hill; Joseph Davis, 30, of Nightingale Crescent, Harold Wood; Scott Hagger, 36, of Doddinghurst Road, Brentwood; and Kurt Downer, 43, of High Street, Epping.
Three others, from Brentwood, Billericay and Harlow, have already been jailed for possessing the class A drug with intent to supply.
Eric Athanassiou, 45, of High Street, Brentwood, was given four years in jail for possession with intent to supply; David Hands, 25, of Grange Road, Billericay, was given five years and Daniel Godtschalk, 32, of Denby Grange, Church Langley, Harlow, received four years.