Gazeley man cleared of 15 sex charges

Ipswich Crown Court ANL-140617-141524001
Ipswich Crown Court ANL-140617-141524001

A Gazeley man has been cleared of sexually assaulting a schoolgirl in the back of his van,

Fifty-five-year-old Nicholas Harwood, of Highwood Road, had been on trial at Ipswich Crown Court where on Friday he was found not guilty of 15 charges.

After the jury returned the not guilty verdicts, Judge Rupert Overbury told Harwood that he was free to leave the court.

The prosecution claimed that Harwood committed the offences in his van where he had kept a duvet for occasions when he slept in the vehicle.

Giving evidence, Harwood said he had taken the girl down a farm track because she wanted to try driving the van but after she travelled just a few feet he got alarmed and resumed the wheel.

He told the jury that while the girl had been in the van with him, nothing

inappropriate had ever taken place.

The court heard that the prosecution resulted from the discovery of a scrap of paper by the mother of the alleged victim on which she was said to have recorded details of being assaulted.

Harwood was cleared of two offences of indecent assault, eight offences of sexual activity with a child aged under 13, four offences of sexual activity with a child and one offence of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.