Clare man found not guilty of sexually assaulting two girls

Ipswich Crown Court
Ipswich Crown Court

A 67-year-old man from Clare has been cleared of a string of allegations of indecency with two girls.

Anthony Panter, of Cavendish Road, had denied the charges and on Friday was found not guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court.

Giving evidence during a five day trial, Panter told the court: “I just cuddled them. I put my arm around them and that was it.”

Any physical contact with the girls had been “accidental and entirely innocent”, said Panter. “I never crossed the line in that respect.”

When the trial began, prosecutor Andrew Thompson said the two girls had alleged that Panter had touched their breasts and bottoms over their clothing in “risky situations”.

Mr Thompson alleged: “He would do it when the opportunity arose, sneakily in risky situations with others nearby.”

Panter denied any intentional indecent touching took place and said he could not understand why the girls had made their allegations.

He said it would have not been possible for him to have touched the girls in the way they had described.

Panter had pleaded not guilty to 11 offences of sexual activity with one of the girls and four offences involving the second girl.

He was found not guilty of 14 offences while the jury was discharged from returning a verdict on the remaining charge.