Lancashire

Lancashire teacher cleared of sex assaults on pupils

A teacher acquitted of sex assaults on pupils has spoken of his distress at living apart from his wife and baby for eight months because of the case.

Peter Wilson, 35, also had to have a social services official present at the birth of his son.

A jury at Preston Crown Court took 20 minutes to acquit him of touching and kissing young girls indecently at a Blackpool primary school.

He was cleared of 11 indecent assaults relating to five girls.

Earlier in the hearing, the judge had ordered the jury to acquit him on three further counts relating to another girl.

"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," said Mr Wilson.

He was suspended from the school - which cannot be named for legal reasons - after two of the youngsters told another teacher that he touched their bottoms and kissed them.

'Playground gossip'

Mr Wilson denied any inappropriate contact and said the touching was encouragement to the pupils and amounted to a clasp on the shoulder, a pat on the back or a hug.

The teacher, supported in the public gallery by his wife, Clare, cried in the dock when he was acquitted.

The jury was told the youngsters gave similar accounts of Mr Wilson rubbing his hand down their backs or leaning close to them cheek-to-cheek before patting them on the bottom.

Jeremy Lasker, prosecuting, said the jury would have to determine if the allegations were "playground gossip" with no foundation or there was a real and factual basis to the claims.

Mr Wilson, of Bentley Green, Thornton Cleveleys, told police that four of his accusers were lacking confidence and self-esteem in their ability in class and needed to be praised.

He said his job was a caring profession and that all the claims had been made up and were "probably malicious".

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