Paul Wickerson festival death: Guards jailed over kidnap

Brian Atkins and Gregory Maxwell Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption The actions of Brian Atkins and Gregory Maxwell led to the festival-goer's death, the judge said

Two security guards have been jailed for the kidnap of a music festival-goer who was run over and killed after they dumped him by the roadside in Essex.

Paul Wickerson, 32, was hit by several vehicles after being taken from the Brownstock Festival in August 2013.

Gregory Maxwell, 32, of Romford, was given a three-year sentence and Brian Atkins, 49, of Ilford, three years and nine months at Chelmsford Crown Court.

The judge said there had been a "woeful failure" to protect Mr Wickerson.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Paul Wickerson had been at Brownstock Festival before his death

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

'Four-mile trial'

The victim, who had taken cocaine, ketamine and LSD, was then released to see if he could make it back to the festival.

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

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".

Judge Karen Walden-Smith told Maxwell and Atkins: "I don't sentence you for Paul Wickerson's death, but your breach of trust and woeful failure to protect those you had the responsibility to protect.

"This is a truly tragic case. Your actions during an approximate half-hour period had the result that one much-loved and talented young man unnecessarily lost his life."

Atkins was given a longer sentence as the judge decided he had "greater culpability".

"I'm satisfied you shackled him by the ankles, drove him to the place he was left and physically left him there," she said.

Atkins was given an additional six-month sentence on an unrelated charge of possessing a prohibited weapon, which he had admitted previously.

A spokesman for Brownstock Festival said: "We are pleased that the case has reached a conclusion and that the offenders have been held to account.

"It has been frustrating for us to not be able to comment on the case until now and our deepest sympathies remain with the family of the victim."

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