Body of community stalwart Martyn Dent pulled from Sixteen Foot Bank only hours before he was due in court to face child sex charges

Martyn Dent of Wimblington whose body was pulled from the Sixteen Foot at Stonea on Monday morning.

Martyn Dent of Wimblington whose body was pulled from the Sixteen Foot at Stonea on Monday morning. Police said his death is not being treated as suspicious. Picture; YOUTUBE - Credit: Archant

A Fenland village has been rocked by the death of community stalwart Martyn Dent whose body was recovered from the Sixteen Foot Bank at Stonea on Monday.

Police have confirmed there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr Dent’s death – the Cambridgeshire coroner has been informed. No formal identification has been released.

Five years ago Mr Dent took part in a campaign by MP Steve Barclay to bring better health services to the community He agreed to the filming of an interview in which he spoke of the need for better bereavement counselling in the Fens.

Tributes to Mr Dent have been made on several local Facebook pages and support for his family has been flooding in.

“RIP Martyn -we will miss you; thinking of you Julie and family. He was a lovely man” wrote one family friend.

Another wrote: “Absolutely devastated... Wimblington has lost the best person Wimblington has ever had. He started so much for the future of this village”.

One other villager posted: “He had a heart of gold and wanted everyone around him to be happy.”

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Mr Dent’s death came only hours before he was due to appear at Peterborough Crown Court to face two charges of alleged sexual assault of a child, allegations he had denied.

Two years ago Mr Dent and his wife were recognised for their charity work in Wimblington during the annual Pride of Fenland awards and were runners-up in their category.

They were nominated by Councillor Maureen Davis for their efforts in organising monthly charity quizzes.

She said: “Each month sees a different village group or club benefit from the funds raised which to date have amounted to around £15,000.”

Mr Dent was delighted to have been nominated for the award and said afterwards that none of their efforts could have been achieved with without the support of family, friends and everyone in the community.

A Cambridgeshire Police spokesperson said: “We were called at 7.34am on April 1 to Sixteen Foot Bank, Stonea, with reports of concern for a man.

“On arrival at the location officers found the body of a man in the river.

A police spokesman said: “The death is currently being treated as unexplained and the road was closed for several hours.”

The Sixteen Foot was closed for several hours while emergency services recovered Mr Dent’s body and completed their inquiries.