Lancashire teacher cleared over sex assault claims

First published in Blackpool

A Lancashire teacher cleared of sexually assaulting six of his pupils has spoken of his "distress" at having to live apart from his wife and newborn son for eight months because of the allegations.

Peter Wilson said social services were present at his first child's birth and he was asked to swear formally that he would not live with them.

This followed charges that he had indecently touched and kissed young girls at the primary school he taught at in Blackpool.

A jury at Preston Crown Court took just 20 minutes to acquit him of all the charges.

Mr Wilson, 35, was suspended from his school - which cannot be named for legal reasons - after two of the youngsters told another teacher about the alleged incidents. They said he touched their bottoms and kissed them.

The teacher denied there was any inappropriate contact and the touching was encouragement to the pupils and amounted to a clasp on the shoulder, a pat on the back or a hug.

Mr Wilson cried in the dock as he was acquitted and was supported in the public gallery by members of his family, including his wife, Clare, who teaches at the same school.

Following the verdicts, Mr Wilson said: "The past 18 months or so have been the most stressful of my life and my wife's.

"My greatest distress was that, as a result of these unfounded allegations, social services were present at the birth of our first child and I was required to sign an agreement to say that I could not live in the same house as my wife and newborn baby. This lasted eight months."

The jury cleared Mr Wilson, of Bentley Green, Thornton Cleveleys, of 11 counts of indecent assault relating to five girls.

Earlier in the trial the jury was ordered by the judge to find him not guilty on three further counts in relation to another girl.

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