A former school matron accused of paying a former pupil under the age of 14 for sex with Mars bars wept in court as she was acquitted.
The jury took just over an hour to clear 46-year-old Tiffany Carter of two counts of indecent assault and three counts of gross indecency with a child.
Ms Carter was visibly shaken as the foreman read “not guilty” to each of the five charges and smiled to the jury.
Her parents wept in the public gallery as it became clear that the jury did not accept the alleged victim’s version of events.
Judge Richard Hayward immediately rose from the bench without even addressing Ms Carter or the jury.
Speaking afterwards Ms Carter thanked the jury and said, “It was a joke from the start. We’re just glad to be getting on with our lives.”
Prior to the criminal case against Ms Carter, the alleged victim had begun civil action against St Andrews Prep School in Eastbourne, and was seeking €150,000 (£120,000) compensation.
Lewes Crown Court had previously heard how the victim’s account of the alleged abuse did not tally with the facts.
Judge Richard Hayward, “The victim said the abuse carried on for as long as six months.
“But documents from the school showed that the defendant only worked at the school for four weeks.”
The court also heard in evidence from DC Phil Cracknell that Ms Carter was “visibly shocked” when she was arrested in March 2014.
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