'I've been though hell ' - Exmouth man cleared of sex offences

PUBLISHED: 11:42 27 October 2011

Archant

Peter Avery, who was cleared of sex offences at Exeter Crown Court, has spoken of the 'hell' he has gone through because of the unfounded allegations.

An Exmouth man cleared of sexual offences against two women said his life has been ruined by the allegations.

A jury sitting at Exeter Crown Court last week found Peter Avery, 48, of Travershes Close, not guilty of claims he sexually assaulted two women and allegedly exposed himself to one of the women.

Leaving court in tears, following a four-day trial, Mr Avery, who denied all the counts against him, said the stress of the accusations made by the two women had forced him to give up his business and put an end to his relationship.

He said the allegations had caused him embarrassment and shattered his faith in people.

Mr Avery said: “I have been through hell for nothing. People have hurt me.

“I have lost everything. I have lost my partner. I live on my own.

“I am 48 years old, I have got to start my life again. I won’t trust anybody again.”

The court heard how Mr Avery was a man of good character, with no convictions or reprimands, and was not known to the police.

He denied, and was cleared of, allegations made by one woman who claimed he exposed himself and sexually assaulted her.

Mr Avery said the only time he had physical contact with the woman was after she began crying, following an argument with her boyfriend.

He said he had hugged her to comfort her and ‘may’ have kissed her forehead.

The jury heard the woman admit the embrace was ‘calming and comforting’.

Mr Avery also denied – and was found not guilty of – several claims he sexually assaulted a second woman.

The court heard how Mr Avery believed she had consented to him kissing and cuddling her on a trip back from Beer.

He told the jury: “She had her arms around me. She was kissing me and I was kissing her.

“I was in my 40s and this young girl wasn’t stopping any of my affections.

“She was giving me affection back. I am not saying she was ravishing me, but she was responding to kissing me.”

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