Thursday, October 25, 2012

Middlesbrough man hounded despite being cleared of rape

A MAN cleared of rape says he's still "living a nightmare" by being continually hounded by those who don't believe his innocence.




John Percival says he has been attacked several times - including being hit over the head with an iron bar - and has been forced to move home, following his acquittal.

Despite being found innocent, Mr Percival says he has been constantly tormented by those who believe him guilty.

And it’s due to this harassment that he claims he has tried to commit suicide and has turned to self-harming.

Now he wants to re-iterate his innocence in the hope that people will let him get on with his life.

The 42-year-old said: “I’ve been through hell and back and I’m still living a nightmare. People still shout ‘rapist’ at me. It’s horrible.

“I’ve gone from 15 stone to 10 stone. I can’t eat because of it. I just want to move forward.”

Girlfriend Dawn Cromack, a 41-year-old charity shop worker added: “People have taken it out on me as well, to get to him. But I’m standing by him.

“What he’s been through is disgusting - I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”

As reported, a jury unanimously acquitted Mr Percival after 80 minutes’ consideration following his trial at Teesside Crown Court in June.

He was charged after a woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he raped her after a night out in Middlesbrough in 2010.

When he was found not guilty Mr Percival hoped it would be the end of the matter but says his nightmare is still continuing three months on.

Mr Percival said: “Being arrested and on trial was scary. It was nerve-racking.

“When I was found not guilty it was great - I thought it was all over. But that night people smashed my windows in.”

It was due to the constant threats and harassment that Mr Percival said he was forced to move from his home on Beaumont Road to a bed and breakfast in Middlesbrough.

Now he hopes people will leave him be so that he can get his life back on track.

He said: “I’ve lost my home and have been called rapist and worse. I just want to get on with my life.”

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