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Tremeloes stars hail indecency acquittal

AAP logoAAP 23/07/2016

Leonard "Chip" Hawkes, the bassist and a vocalist from the 1960s pop group The Tremeloes, said he and fellow band member Richard Westwood were "absolutely over the moon" after being acquitted of indecently assaulting a teenage girl after a gig almost 50 years ago.

The pair had been due to stand trial next year to face allegations that they assaulted a 15-year-old girl in a hotel room after a concert in Chester in April 1968.

But a judge at Reading Crown Court ordered both men to be found not guilty after the prosecution said it had no evidence to offer.

Hawkes, 70, father of 90s pop star Chesney, said outside the court that the pair were were delighted that a "black cloud" had been taken away by the verdict.

He said: "The past two years and seven months have been the worst time of our lives.

"Our families have had to endure the stress and media publicity and it's taken its toll on all of us."

Hawkes, who's been battling bone cancer, said the case had badly damaged his career and revealed he had even been attacked by a member of the public before a previous court appearance.

Flanked by his wife Carol, an actress and game show host in the 1960s, he thanked the two men's families, friends and fans for their "unfailing loyalty and putting up with two grumpy old men".

Westwood, The Tremeloes guitarist who sang lead vocals on the 1967 number one single Silence Is Golden, said his 50-year career had been "tarnished" on the basis of "spurious allegations" and that the accusations had caused "years of trauma".

In a statement read by his solicitor Victoria Gregory, he said: "It is too late for me and my family to get back the years of our life that have been destroyed in this process.

"We were punished and suffered for something that was simply not true."

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