Lincolnshire

British Legion volunteer jailed for sex attack on widow

Lincoln Crown Court
Image caption Michael Furniss was convicted at Lincoln Crown Court of sexual assault

A Royal British Legion volunteer has been jailed for sexually assaulting a widow who asked the charity for help with her husband's funeral costs.

Former RAF serviceman Michael Furniss asked the woman if she missed sex before kissing her and putting his tongue in her mouth.

Judge Steve Coupland told him: "You targeted her as a vulnerable person. This was and is an appalling offence."

The Royal British Legion has condemned his behaviour.

Lincoln Crown Court heard how the woman, who was in her late 60s at the time, begged Furniss to stop.

She contacted the police and Furniss, of Shuttleworth Court, North Hykeham, was suspended from his role as a volunteer case worker.

Last month he was convicted of sexual assault.

He was cleared of charges of sexual assault and assault by penetration against three other women.

Furniss, 62, denied all the charges and accused the women of lying to the jury.

His lawyer argued Furniss, a carer for his wife who needs 24-hour support, should be spared an immediate jail sentence.

But he was jailed for two years and three months as well as being placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

Judge Coupland said: "You have not taken responsibility for what you did, the only appropriate sentence to reflect the gravity of what you did is an immediate custodial sentence.

"I would be failing in my public duty if I did not deal with you in that way."

In a statement following the conclusion of trial, the Royal British Legion's Director of Operations, Antony Baines, said: "We deeply regret that he committed this offence while representing The Royal British Legion as a volunteer."

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