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Man cleared of groping teens
ROYAL Wootton Bassett man Stuart Roderick has been cleared of four charges of sexual activity with teenagers at a party last year.
The verdict came after the court heard the young girls, aged 15 and 16, were drunk at the time.
Mr Roderick, 38, of Branscombe Drive, Royal Wootton Bassett, faced four counts of sexual activity with the girls at a trial at Swindon Crown Court yesterday.
It was alleged that while at a party Mr Roderick was left alone with three teenagers and inappropriately touched two girls on a number of occasions. He denied all charges.
The court heard from a long list of acquaintances of Mr Roderick who spoke of his affable nature and ability to get on with anyone.
Mr Roderick told the court how at the time of the alleged offences he had been suffering from mental health issues, been made redundant, and had been having suicidal thoughts. The court heard evidence from the three teenagers present of a number of incidents during the evening where Mr Roderick touched the girls inappropriately, touching and kissing them.
The next day at 7.30am the mother of one of the girls was told what had happened, and Mr Roderick was arrested shortly afterwards.
Colin Meeke, prosecuting, said: “The evidence in this case has three conclusions. There are the long conspiracy, the short conspiracy, and the truth.
“This girl, who was very fond of him, has turned on him in a totally vile and appaling manner, for no apparent reason save one.
“It is not her alone who wants to do for this man. She has got her friends to act as co-conspirators.
“Together they have constructed four incidents. They are clever, those three. And they did all this in two-and-a-half hours. That is the short conspiracy.
“The long conspiracy is they decided to do for him before the party.
“All the affection that night was a sham. They knew that in the morning they would set in train this awful chain of events.
“The third option is what they have told you is true.
“This is a man who sometimes behaves younger than his years.
“He forgot who he was and tried to be one of the youngsters.
“He was blurring the lines. Him becoming involved in the way that he did is inappropriate.
“These three young people have told you what should have been a good evening went horribly wrong because of Stuart Roderick’s misconduct.”
Paul Trotman, defending, said Roderick was a man who had never been in trouble with the police and his memory of the events of that night had been unaffected by drink. “There is a much more rational and logical explanation,” he said.
“These three young people had had a great deal to drink. One went off and was sick as the result of the drink.
“Their recollection of events has been severely affected by the amount of drink they had had.
“He did not appear to be affected by alcohol, while the youngsters clearly were.”