Exmouth man tells of ‘relief’ as rape case is dropped

An Exmouth man has spoken exclusively to the Journal of the moments when he learned rape allegations made against him were thrown out of court because of ‘unreliable’ evidence.

Exmouth man Neil Evans is not ashamed of admitting he cried through fear when he was locked in a cell after being accused of rape.

The trial against Mr Evans, 33, of Heard Avenue, was last month thrown out of court after the judge instructed the jury to find the father-of-two not guilty of two rapes, a charge of intimidation and of breaching his restraining order.

Mr Evans and his partner, Claire Evans, 30, have exclusively spoken to the Journal about how their lives were turned upside down by the allegations.

The couple, who have known each other for 10 years and rekindled their relationship after breaking up, say they are reluctant to remain living at their home for fear of reprisals.

Painter and decorator Mr Evans said he was terrified of being sent to prison.

He said his first night on remand gave him a taste of what he could have faced if Judge Philip Wassall at Exeter Crown Court had not ruled the woman’s evidence as ‘unreliable’.

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Mr Evans had feared for his safety in prison – telling prisoners he was there for breaking his restraining order and nothing about the rape allegations.

He said: “I just cried all night, stuck in there. It was terrible. I can’t describe it.

“I thought I would end up in there for a long stretch. It put pressure on the whole family. I was told I was going to get 11 years. That was just horrible.

“It was just terrible in court. It didn’t feel real. It was like looking at someone else. When the judge stepped in it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders.”

And he added: “When the judge said the evidence was unreliable I just burst out crying. It was a relief.”

Full-time mum Claire said the allegations were felt by the whole family.

She said the children had been confused and upset at their dad’s absence when he was forced to leave the family home and live in a caravan in Seaton for six months as part of his bail conditions.

She said: “I feel sorry for the real victims of rape.

“What happened to us affected the children, especially as daddy wasn’t able to be at home. We had to go and see him. They didn’t understand what was going on.

“This has made us stronger.

We realise now it was a mistake breaking up and how much we love each other.

“We are happy and hope to get married.”