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picture of Charlie Hogg escaping police
After a tense three hours Charlie Hogg escapes police negotiators atop "Derby Duck" - he hasn't been seen since.

Stagg Denies Encouraging Child "Suicide" Attempt

ASDA Sinfin all-rounder Colbert Stagg denies encouraging 15-year-old schoolboy Charlie Hogg to jump to his "death" from the top of the Pavilion Clock at the Queens Park cricket ground in Chesterfield.

After a tense three hours - during which Stagg is alleged to have encouraged the teenager to jump - onlookers were relieved when the son of cricket entertainment impresario Chris Hogg escaped police negotiators and flew to apparent safety in the direction of Hardwick Wood.

ASDA Sinfin Cricket Club have criticised the publicity stunt - it has emerged that the schoolboy was publicising this years Hoggnor Birdman Event which for the first time will include a cricket mascot category - and have rejected complaints from forty seven onlookers who allege that Stagg was encouraging the child to commit suicide.

A spokesman for the Club claimed yesterday that Stagg was the victim of a terrible coincidence.

"Comments attributed to Colbert Stagg were either misheard or taken out of context. He was in the vicinity of the Pavilion Clock throughout the incident but at no stage did he attempt to communicate with Charlie Hogg.

"Colbert has been the unwitting victim of a terrible misunderstanding and did nothing more than make and receive a number of personal phone calls throughout the time in which Charlie was pretending to contemplate suicide.

"A number of people who were present at the time were unaware that Colbert was conversing with his friends and mistakenly believed him to be taunting Charlie. I must stress that this was not the case and that all words and comments - heard or misheard - were wholly related to these entirely innocent and unconnected personal conversations".

Stagg - who was recently named ASDA Sinfin Player of the Year - is devastated by claims made in a Sunday newspaper that he told the boy to jump.

In an interview with Sporty George Weekly he said: "I have one of those hands free telephones and was talking to our scorer Ernie Primark who was at the shops and wanted to know if I needed anything. I said I wanted a stump as I intended to autograph it for a suicide charity I plan to support. The line was very bad and Ernie is partially deaf so I was yelling the word 'stump' for about half an hour until he eventually understood me".

picture of Cheryl Ashington
Charlie Hogg grabbed headlines in 2001 when his girlfriend Cheryl Ashington (pictured) drowned in unusual circumstances. "She tied the anchor to her leg to make sure we didn't lose it" insists Charlie.

Stagg is equally adamant that he never told the boy to "hurry up and fall". "Ernie said he'd call me back to let me know how he got on. I was quite distressed by the whole suicide thing and was desperate to leave. I admit to being angry that Ernie was taking so long and probably yelled out “hurry up and call” forty or fifty times.

"When he eventually phoned back he said they were out of stumps and asked if I would like anything else. I yelled 'ball' about twenty times then hung up".

The all-rounder steadfastly denies screaming "you haven't got the guts". "I am not proud of losing my temper over something so seemingly trivial but I gave Ernie a 100 gram packet of honey roasted cashews during pre season on the understanding that he would replace them the next day. He never did - it's been one excuse after another - but on the day in question I had reason to believe he would honour the agreement.

"I guess I lost it a bit when he called me to say there was a 'nut scare' throughout Derbyshire and all nuts had been recalled. I was dumbfounded and remember screaming “you haven't got the nuts?”

"According to Ernie I also yelled “don't you dare disappoint me, just hurry up and do it” and a number of other things about nuts that might easily be misconstrued given the circumstances".

Ernie Primark has yet to corroborate Stagg's version of events but his cause received a welcome boost this evening when a witness spoke out in his defence.

Derbyshire supporter Millie Wainwright, 85, said "I arrived at the ground quite late after hearing about poor Charlie Hogg. I happened to be standing next to Colbert and it was obvious he was agitated and distressed. He made a phone call and I couldn't help but overhear him say “I need Charlie; I'll do anything you want - just get me Charlie”. It seemed obvious to me that he was even prepared to spend £50 of his own money to help matters out".

Stagg has declined to comment on this latest development.