Charity worker guilty of sexual attack on elderly woman

A Royal British Legion worker was found guilty of sexually assaulting an elderly woman while working for the charity on a voluntary basis.

Michael Furniss, who was a caseworker for the Legion, was cleared of four further charges of sexual assault and a charge of assault by penetration following a week-long trial at Lincoln Crown Court.

Furniss, 62, of Shuttleworth Court, North Hykeham, had denied all six charges which related to a total of four women during the period between 2013 and 2017.

Judge Steven Coupland adjourned sentence for the preparation of a probation report and Furniss was bailed to appear back before the Crown Court next month.

The judge told Furniss: “You have been convicted of a very serious sexual offence. I’m going to adjourn sentence in your case for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

“You should not think that in adjourning for a report it will be anything other than a prison sentence.”

Jeremy Janes, prosecuting, said the elderly woman whom Furniss was convicted of sexually assaulting was visited by Furniss after she asked the Legion for help following the death of her husband.

The woman said that Furniss made suggestive remarks to her about her sex life. Before he left her he kissed her putting his tongue inside her mouth.

The victim contacted police to make a complaint and as a result of the subsequent investigation, further women came forward alleging they were sexually assaulted by Furniss.

Furniss denied anything improper took place with any of the four women who made complaints against him.

At the end of the trial Karen Walton, for Furniss, asked for an adjournment for a report.

She told the court: “His life has been quite challenging. He has had his own mental health concerns given the responsibility he has for his wife. She is very ill.”