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Fire chief Gary Thompson at centre of sex assault claims retires

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Chief Fire and Rescue Officer Gary Thompson has retired.

Chief Fire and Rescue Officer Gary Thompson has retired.

Chief Fire and Rescue Officer Gary Thompson has retired.

Northern Ireland's chief fire officer - who denies a raft of sex assault allegations - has retired while suspended from duty.

Gary Thompson, who has led the fire service here since 2016, was placed on precautionary suspension from the fire service in December 2018.

Mr Thompson, 51, had served in the service for 24 years when he was suspended.

He appeared in court in Co Antrim last month charged with nine counts of indecently assaulting a woman in 2006.

Mr Thompson, of Rogan Wood in Newtownabbey, denies the allegations.

A Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson confirmed that Mr Thompson was no longer employed by the fire service.

“Mr Gary Thompson, former chief fire and rescue officer, retired on 14 January 2020," the spokesperson said.

During a preliminary inquiry hearing at Ballymena Magistrates Court on December 5 prosecutors submitted Thompson had a case to answer over the charges.

However, a lawyer for Mr Thompson said his client "strenuously denies" the allegations.

Mr Thompson was released on continuing £750 bail.

Belfast Telegraph