Belfast dentist Ian Crutchley cleared over wife-beating charge
Surgeon tells of ‘trial by social media’ as PPS drop wife-beating case in wake of new evidence
A leading Northern Ireland dentist has opened up about his “trial by social media” after an allegation that he brutally assaulted his ex-wife was withdrawn by prosecutors.
Ian Crutchley, who runs Fifteen Dental, which has practices in Downpatrick and Belfast’s Lisburn Road, protested his innocence from the beginning.
The 53-year-old, from Dromore, had been charged in July with inflicting GBH on his then wife Bronagh Crutchley in August 2002.
But last week the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) withdrew the GBH charge at Belfast Magistrates’ Court.
It understood that significant new evidence came to light. Following a review, the PPS decided the case no longer met the test for prosecution.
Mr Crutchley told Sunday Life the last couple of months had been difficult for his family and he thanked friends, colleagues and patients for their support.
“It has always been my position that these charges were false and the fact that I never had to attend or even enter a plea at court speaks volumes,” he said. “Trial by social media is a horrible thing and the experience my family and I have endured this last two months I would not wish on anyone.
“This has been a difficult time and we now wish to put this unpleasant period behind us.”
One of Mr Crutchley’s children added: “Myself and my two siblings were more than happy to provide witness statements that in our view confirmed the allegation to be false.
“Our father has had full custody of us for the last 14 years, during which time we have built a safe, happy and loving home together.
“We are extremely pleased that the charge has been dropped and now wish to continue on with our lives together as a family.”
Mr Crutchley, who is now happily remarried, studied at Queen’s University in 1987 before becoming an associate in Downpatrick. He then took a top job at local practice Downe in the Mouth in 1993, now known as Fifteen Dental.
He has grown the business considerably and has also built up an extensive patient list.
He said: “I would like to thank all those friends, colleagues and patients who gave me their kind support both in words and deeds.”