A NORTHUMBERLAND man accused of sexual assaults on two teenage boys nearly a decade ago has been cleared of all charges.
Mark Watson faced a string of allegations, including raping an alleged victim, who was said to be 15 at the time, and sexual grooming.
But yesterday at Newcastle Crown Court a jury found the 44-year-old not guilty on each allegation he faced.
Mr Watson, formerly of Green Lane in Ashington, Northumberland, but now understood to be living in Blyth, stood accused of rape, seven charges of sexual grooming, inciting sexual activity and sexual assault, and making and possessing indecent videos of children together with a single indecent image.
Earlier this week during the trial, Recorder Neil Davey told the jury they must find Mr Watson not guilty of seven charges of sexual grooming, inciting sexual activity and sexual assault. At the time he said: “There is no evidence to convict.”
Those charges related to prosecution claims that former NHS worker Mr Watson staged repeated assaults when the alleged victim was 15-years-old.
But Mr Watson denied ever abusing the boy, who is now in his 20s and has a history of making false allegations.
He said he only met him twice, that by then he was over 16 and that nothing sexual happened between them.
The rape charge involved a boy prosecutors claimed was only 15 when Mr Watson allegedly plied him with vodka, put on a pornographic film, and attacked him.
But giving evidence, divorced father- of-two Mr Watson said the pair began a consensual relationship when he was sure the alleged victim was over the age of consent.
He claimed they performed sex acts together in Mr Watson’s blue Mini. Other meetings took place at his then home in Widdrington, Northumberland, he told the jury. The other allegations related to a collection of indecent child movies and an indecent image of a child which were found on a computer belonging to Mr Watson.
He told jurors that a former boyfriend must have downloaded the material.
The jury cleared Mr Watson of each charge. Recorder Davey thanked the jury for their time and deliberations and told Mr Watson he was free to go.