Youth not guilty of rape

Found innocent of all charges after four-day trial.

AN EAST Devon youth has been found not guilty of rape and sexual assaults against a teenage girl.

The 17-year-old maintained his innocence from the start.

Exeter Crown Court heard during a four-day trial of how the pair, both 16 at the time, had gone to look for the girl’s tobacco when the alleged offences took place.

But, in mitigation, Mary McCarthy said the girl had been ‘drunk and emotional’ and had acted in a way she later regretted.

She said: “It was a drunken girl, who probably regretted it soon after, but she acted very promiscuously.”

The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, initially denied anything sexual had happened in August last year.

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Miss McCarthy said the youth was of previous good character and the fact he did not admit any sexual acts initially was a reflection of his age.

She said: “Only two people know what happened in that garden and we need to be sure to convict.”

The youth told police he had seen a ‘green light’ because the girl, who had been drinking cider, was vulnerable. He said he had comforted her because she was upset and she gave him a love bite.

The jury returned a not guilty verdict on all counts.