When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Oldest cyclist avoids rape court case due to mental health
A 97-year-old man, who was believed to be the UK's oldest competitive cyclist, has had court proceedings against him dropped for an allegation of rape of a girl aged under 16 because of his deteriorating mental health.
Lionel Veck, of Preston Road, Portsmouth, was charged with rape and two offences of indecent assault dating back to the mid-1970s.
But at a hearing on Friday, the Crown Prosecution Service successfully applied at Portsmouth Crown Court for the proceedings against Mr Veck to be stayed following a psychiatric report which showed that because of his age his mental health had recently declined.
The case had been listed for trial to begin today but this will no longer go ahead.
Mr Veck, a retired butcher, became the oldest competitive cyclist in the UK in June 2011 when, at the age of 95, he completed a 10-mile race with the Hampshire Road Club.
Riding a tandem with fellow club member Peter Dawson, he completed the time trial between Havant and Chichester in 42 minutes and 32 seconds, slower than his career-best of 23 minutes and 39 seconds.
The pensioner, who was an RAF engine fitter during the Second World War, started cycling in 1937 and during the war would regularly cycle from his base in Worcester back to his home in Portsmouth.
The charges that Mr Veck had faced were one of rape against a girl aged under 16 which was alleged to have happened between August 21, 1975, and August 21, 1977 and two charges of indecent assault of a girl aged under 14 between August 21, 1972, and August 21, 1977.