England

Four cleared in Royal Agricultural University rape case

A composite image of Patrick Foster, James Martin, Leo Mahon and Thady Duff Image copyright PA
Image caption From left to right: Patrick Foster, James Martin, Leo Mahon and Thady Duff

Four men accused of rape after a university's summer ball have been cleared after the case against them was dropped.

It was alleged they had attacked a woman, 20, after an end of term party at the Royal Agricultural University in Gloucestershire, in 2014.

The men, three of whom were students, denied the charges made against them.

A trial was due to start two weeks ago but prosecutors have now decided not to proceed with the case against the men.

All four made no comment as they left Gloucester Crown Court after not guilty verdicts were recorded.


The defendants:

  • Thady Duff, 22, of Stubbs Hill Farm, Blunsdon, Swindon - denied three charges of rape. He also denied a charge of sexual assault against the same woman which is alleged to have been carried out between October 1 and 31, 2013
  • James Martin, 20, of Hook Norton Road, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire - denied a single charge of rape
  • Leo Mahon, 22, of Lawrence Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire - denied three charges of rape and two charges of assault by penetration
  • Patrick Foster, 22, of Maldon Road, Kelvedon, Colchester, Essex - denied one charge of rape and two charges of assault by penetration

Earlier, prosecutor Fiona Elder told the court a decision had been made not to offer any evidence against the four.

"The decision was made that there was no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction and therefore in the circumstances it was not for the Crown to pursue this case to trial," she said.

"The police were informed and discussed the decision with the head of the South West Rape and Serious Sexual Offences unit.

"The head of the South West Rape and Serious Sexual Offences unit consulted with the complainant and her family to ensure they knew and understood the decision, whatever their view of it."

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