A Wigan dad unanimously cleared of child sex abuse charges by a jury after just 20 minutes’ deliberations says that false allegations have ruined his life.
James Peters, 32, has had to wait three agonising years to clear his name after being diagnosed with a brain tumour just 10 months after first being arrested, delaying the trial.
The devastated father, who was living on Enfield Street, Pemberton, in May 2015 when social services turned up to take his children away, has had to learn to talk again in order to defend himself in court.
Mr Peters, who was found not guilty by 12 jurors following a five-day trial at Liverpool Crown Court last week, has spoken out for the first time to share news of his innocence with the public.
“We have had to move house,” he said, pointing out that his partner has loyally stuck with him throughout his ordeal. “Even now we still get eggs chucked at the window. I get verbal abuse on the street.
“I have been held captive in my own home for the past two years. Rumours were going around that I had been found guilty and sentenced and it just isn’t true.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all it was just a malicious allegation.”
Mr Peters was first charged with four counts of sexual activity back in November 2015, six months after his children were taken from him and his partner.
The then 29-year-old was accused of sexually touching a seven-year-old girl between February 2014 and 2015.
He also faced two charges of touching the same girl between February 2015 and May 2015.
But in March 2016, before the trial was due to begin, Mr Peters was diagnosed with a brain tumour and forced to undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
During a round of potentially life-saving surgery, he suffered a seizure on the operating table leaving him paralysed on one side and unable to speak.
The proceedings were further delayed by a police officer involved in the investigation having to take time off for surgery as well.
But Mr Peters said: “I don’t want any pity for having cancer. I just want people to know the truth. I want my life back.
“I lost everything, all of my friends turned against me. Only one or two people stood by me during everything, including my partner.
“Now I am in the process of trying to get my children back.”
Mr Peters, who is now in remission, spoke about the immense stress put on him throughout the entire process, “from social services”, “from police” and from his own community.
“It has taken so long to get through, all this time people think I have sexually abused children and I don’t.
“It has ruined my life.”
Due to legal reasons, the Wigan Post cannot identify the person who made the allegations against Mr Peters.