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Innocent: Weymouth stag party duo win legal battle to clear names
TWO men are claiming victory after a long battle to clear their names when a night out in Weymouth turned nasty.
Police used pepper spray and fired a Taser gun at brothers-in-law Darren Corbridge and John Naylor who had been celebrating a stag night party.
The pair were arrested and later convicted of attacking police despite claiming they had done nothing wrong and had only been trying to help bridegroom-to-be Stewart Roberts get home in a bizarre costume.
Mr Corbridge and Mr Naylor have now had their convictions overturned by a judge who was shown CCTV of the incident which proved their innocence.
The footage revealed they did nothing to provoke the police in the lead up to the incident in St Mary Street.
Weymouth businessman Mr Corbridge, 37, who owns Bella Kitchens, said the court’s decision was a ‘huge relief’.
He added: “I’m frustrated, angry and hurt by the way we were treated. It’s been 18 months of hell.”
Mr Naylor, 49, a mechanic for First buses, said: “It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”
They are demanding an apology from Dorset Police.
The pair were among a group who celebrated Stewart Roberts’s stag night in August, 2010.
His fiancé Eloise Corbridge – Darren Corbridge’s sister – held her hen night on the same evening and the two groups met up later.
They ran into problems when window fitter Mr Roberts, who was dressed in a large, rude costume and had been plied with drinks, was refused a lift home by a taxi driver at the end of the night. Mr Corbridge intervened and asked police for assistance.
The police ignored his plea but as he walked away he was followed by an officer.
CCTV showed Mr Naylor trying to intervene only to be blasted with pepper spray and Tasered.
Mr Corbridge was seen being restrained by five officers before he was Tasered and detained. He was also pepper-sprayed.
Dozens of police officers were involved in the fracas which drew a crowd of onlookers in the street.
Mr Corbridge and Mr Naylor were later both charged with assaulting a police officer and Mr Naylor was also charged with resisting arrest.
They were subsequently convicted by magistrates last year and given curfew orders which meant they had to wear electronic tags.
Victory came when Mr Corbridge and Mr Naylor appealed against their convictions and won their case at Bournemouth Crown Court.
Father-of three Mr Corbridge, from Wyke Regis, said: “I’m delighted. It’s a huge relief.”
He added: “I felt disgusted at how we were treated, it was like we were animals and I couldn't believe it had happened after asking for help.
“Whilst I was being Tasered I thought I was going to die, it was the most frightening experience I have had in my life and I will never trust the police again.”
Mr Corbridge says he swore at police but maintains he did nothing to aggravate the situation.
He said: “I was trying to get Stewart home. I couldn’t believe how the police reacted.”
Father-of-three Mr Naylor, who is married to Mr Corbridge’s sister Lynsey, said: “Delighted isn’t the word to how I’m feeling.
“This has been a huge strain on me and my family. I’ll never forget being Tasered. Imagine an electric shock and multiply it by 20. It was terrifying.”
Stewart Roberts, 36, has since married beautician Eloise, 31.
Mr Roberts said: “ I can’t remember what happened. It started because my friends tried to get a taxi to take me home but the drivers wouldn’t let me in. One said it was because he wouldn't have been able to look out of the window because of the costume.
“That’s when it went wrong and you can see what happened on the CCTV.”
Dorset police 'investigating'
A Dorset Police spokesman said: “We can confirm the convictions have been overturned.
“The complaint made in August, 2010 regarding the nature of the men’s arrests is being investigated and we are now awaiting a copy of the judge’s full ruling so that we can examine his decision.”