Police drop case of former Wigan councillor accused of stalking town hall boss

Gareth Fairhurst is no longer under suspicion
Gareth Fairhurst is no longer under suspicion

A police probe into a former councillor who had been accused of stalking Wigan’s top civil servant is over after the case was dropped.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has confirmed it will take no further action against ex-independent representative for Standish Gareth Fairhurst.

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Mr Fairhurst was arrested in October last year and accused of stalking Wigan Council’s then-chief executive Donna Hall.

However, the police have now decided they will not be taking the matter any further and Mr Fairhurst is no longer under suspicion.

Despite that, though, the row looks far from over as Mr Fairhurst immediately launched a blistering attack over how the case has been handled.

He says he will be instructing solicitors to bring legal action against GMP, the local authority and Ms Hall, saying he has serious concerns about how he was taken into custody and questioned.

Mr Fairhurst said; “I am handing this over to the lawyers because of the maliciousness of it. I am instructing them to go after the various parties in this case.

“I just don’t understand why people have acted in the way they have here, and the council has answers to provide as well.

“As kids we were taught to look up to the police officers and go to them if you have a problem.”

Mr Fairhurst said he was arrested late at night last year after visiting Ms Hall’s house in Bolton to serve court papers on her on behalf of Bryn independent representative Coun Steve Jones, for whom he had acted as a McKenzie friend in court over a by-election which was quashed.

He says he was kept in a cell for almost 24 hours and has made a number of allegations including being denied medication.

GMP confirmed a 44-year-old man who was arrested on Monday, October 22 last year had been released with no further action to be taken. The force was asked if it wished to comment on Mr Fairhurst’s allegations of wrongdoing and threats of legal action but declined to do so.

A Wigan Council spokesperson said: “We have not received any communications regarding this matter.”

The police confirmed related investigations into three other people, some known to be either current or former opposition councillors, are still ongoing.

A 59-year-old man, known to be Hindley Green independent representative Coun Bob Brierley, arrested on Friday, October 19 on suspicion of stalking, breaching data protection and criminal damage remains under investigation after being released.

A 48-year-old man whose identity remains unknown arrested on the same date accused of stalking and criminal damage is also still under investigation after being released.

A 70-year-old man who was arrested last January on suspicion of stalking is also free but under investigation.

The date given for the latter is the same when former Community Action Party (CAP) leader Peter Franzen was arrested at his home.

Both Mr Franzen and Coun Brierley have strongly denied any wrongdoing and say the accusations against them are politically-motivated.