Eastbourne couple Geoff and Louise Long say they are rebuilding their lives since Geoff was freed from jail after accusations that he had sexually abused his own daughter.
Geoff was exonerated of any crime by police and the legal system and cleared after a retrial.
His daughter Tina Long, who made the accusations, waived her right to anonymity when he was convicted.
Geoff, 67, said, “I cannot describe how it felt to stand and listen to my only daughter accuse me of paedophilia. I had been advised by my legal team to try to remain impassive when Tina was giving evidence. But inside I wanted to scream the roof off. This was my own flesh and blood.”
Although the court had ruled she would remain anonymous because of her age at the time of the alleged offence, Tina opted to write a magazine article telling in intimate detail the false tale of her supposed abuse.
“We were all in shock,” he said. “There wasn’t a shred of evidence of sexual abuse against me.”
He was jailed for five years in 2010.
A retrial eventually took place and Geoff being cleared.
Geoff says his solicitor Mark Newby said that “all the evidence” indicated the allegations against his client were false.
“I’ve saved my anger for the Crown Prosecution Service,” said Geoff. “What happened to me was an utter miscarriage of justice. Why this ever came to trial is beyond me. Someone, somewhere, owes me a lot of explanations.
“As for Tina, I can’t ever see us being able to speak again. I’m not seeking revenge and I don’t want to see someone else go to prison. But I need to close the door on what happened. Tina has her own conscience to deal with. And that must be torture in itself.”
Louise said the impact on the family had been huge.
“Yes, he had been taken away from us but I had to deal with the nasty looks and being spat on going into school with my son,” she said. “I was even beaten up outside the school. My car was vandalised on many occasions outside of school. My main aim was to not have children come out of this terrible situation scarred.
The loneliness was unbearable. I spent all my time, when the children were at school, going through court transcripts to uncover evidence to prove my husband’s innocence.”
The Herald was unable to contact Tina Long.
* A previous story on the website in November 2015 entitled ‘Family’s nightmare after false rape claim’ stated Tina Long confessed in court that she had “lied about allegations that her father Geoff Long had sexually abused her”. We are happy to clarify that this was not the case.
We have also been asked to point out that evidence gathered by Mr Long’s wife Louise was not used in a retrial at which the Crown Prosecution Service dropped charges against Mr Long.
The article also stated the Longs believed Tina Long made up allegations “because she was jealous of Mr Long and his new life with his family”. We have been asked to point out that was not the case and Ms Long was prompted to report matters to police when she learned Mr Long was opening a children’s nursery.