Paul Wickerson festival death: Guards guilty of kidnap

Paul Wickerson Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Paul Wickerson had been at Brownstock before his death on an isolated road

Two music festival security guards have been found guilty of kidnap over the death of a fan in a road crash.

Paul Wickerson, 32, was killed after he was dumped beside a road "for sport" by Gregory Maxwell, 32, of Romford, and Brian Atkins, 49, of Ilford.

He had been taken from the Brownstock festival in Essex in August 2013.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard he was driven handcuffed and high on drugs four miles (6km) from the festival to see if he could make his way back.

During the trial one of the defendants was overheard describing Mr Wickerson's ordeal as a "four-mile bush tucker trial" - referring to challenges in the reality TV show "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here".

The security guards, who both denied the charges, are due to be sentenced on Friday.

The court heard how Mr Wickerson, a geologist from Sydney, Australia, had been at the festival near South Woodham Ferrers when he was handcuffed, bundled into a Land Rover by Mr Maxwell and Mr Atkins, and driven to a remote spot.

'Charismatic nature'

He died after being hit by several vehicles within minutes of being dumped.

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said Mr Wickerson was disorientated after taking cocaine, ketamine and LSD.

Det Ch Insp Simon Werrett, of Essex Police, said: "People who attend festivals expect those responsible for the security to provide them with a safe environment.

"They do not expect them to manhandle them, to handcuff them and then dump them on a dangerous road."

Mr Wickerson's parents, who live in Surrey, said he had returned to UK to visit them and attend festivals with former college friends.

His mother Maureen Wickerson said: "Paul's charismatic nature, coupled with his very engaging and adventurous personality, made him many close friends around the world."

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