PENSIONER Tony Berridge defied his doctor’s orders to clear his name in a Paris court, as a legal battle over his father’s medals took a new turn.

Mr Berridge was ordered to appear before a French judge for allegedly making false allegations against the woman at the centre of a dispute over war medals.

The 69-year-old was placed under ‘formal investigation’ for allegedly wrongly accusing French woman Ms Francoise Gondree-Anquetil of “having defrauded him and robbed medals which he had previously remitted to her”.

Although still recovering from surgery on an abdominal aortic aneurysm, Mr Berridge travelled to Paris in a bid to clear his name.

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And following his court appearance, he was delighted to hear that rather than face any charge, he is to be classified as “an assisted witness”.

The Horspath pensioner maintains he handed over six of Sgt Wilfred Berridge’s medals to Ms Gondree-Anquetil because he believed her to be linked to a museum next to Pegasus Bridge in Normandy, opened to commemorate a glider assault on the bridge on D-Day.

He was to spend four years trying to get back the medals of his father, who was part of a second wave of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry glider troops who famously landed near the bridge on June 6, 1944.

Mr Berridge even enlisted the support of the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

And after receiving a reply from the President’s chief of staff, Mr Berridge was handed back the medals in 2011.

But last month he expressed himself “flabbergasted” on being instructed to travel to Paris to be investigated over false allegations, said to have been made about Ms Gondree- Anquetil.

Help, however, came from Lieutenant Colonel Alan Edwards, chairman of the Airborne Assault Normandy Trust, who had earlier helped get back the medals.

Mr Edwards arranged for legal help, with costs covered by the Anglo-French Association for the Merville Battery.

Mr Berridge said: “My doctor told me it was not a good idea. But for me it was a good idea, because I wanted to get it sorted out. I am happy to say that I am no longer under investigation.

“It could be months before I know how things are going to develop from here.”

Mr Edwards, who broke the good news to Mr Berridge, said: “Following his appearance before the investigating judge in Paris he is now classified as an ‘assisted witness’, no longer the accused.

“The lawyer is now providing the judge with evidence of what Tony has faced. Tony is in the clear.”

Earlier Ms Gondree-Anquetil said in a statement: “Mr Berridge proceeded with incorrect information, this is why an explanation has been asked for.”