Life of teacher torn apart by allegations

Peter Wilson leaves Blackpool Magistrates Court
Peter Wilson leaves Blackpool Magistrates Court

A TEACHER cleared of sexually assaulting six children today revealed how his life had been torn apart by the allegations.

Peter Wilson was forced to live apart from his wife and newborn son for eight months and Social Services were present at the birth of his first child.

This followed charges he had indecently touched and kissed young children.

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

Mr Wilson, 35, was suspended from his school – which cannot be named for legal reasons – after two of the youngsters told a teacher about the alleged incidents.

The teacher denied there was any inappropriate contact and the touching was a sign of encouragement 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, also a teacher.

Following the verdicts, Mr Wilson said: “I am obviously absolutely delighted to have been acquitted.

“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.

“Now that this horrible ordeal is finally over I look forward to rebuilding my life with my wife, new son and the rest of my family.”

In opening the case the prosecution said the defendant was a “well-liked and well-respected member of staff” up to the point of his suspension for his allegedly “wholly inappropriate” behaviour towards the complainants over a number of months.

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, told members of the jury they would have to determine if the allegations were “gossip” with no foundation or, as the prosecution said, there was a real and factual basis to the claims.

Giving evidence, Mr Wilson denied he gained sexual gratification from his actions and that any touching was completely innocent and part of his role in a caring profession.

Mr Wilson, of Bentley Green, Cleveleys, had told police four of his accusers were lacking confidence and self-esteem and needed to be praised.

He said all the claims had been made up and were “probably malicious”.

The jury cleared him of 11 counts of indecent assault relating to five children.

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

A Blackpool Council spokesman said: “We can confirm the member of staff remains suspended ahead of an internal investigation following the conclusion of the court case.”