NOV 24: Teacher cleared of sex charge

A teacher who had been accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl at his Kenilworth home has been cleared after telling a jury that she never visited the house.

And Michael Peters insisted during his evidence at Warwick Crown Court he had never kissed or touched the girl sexually and did not send her a picture of his private parts.

Peters, 46, of Manor Road, Kenilworth, had denied a charge of sexual activity with a child – and the jury took just over four hours to find him not guilty.

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The alleged incident was said to have taken place in March last year after Peters, a PE teacher at Bilton High School in Rugby, had allegedly invited the girl to his then-home in Mill End, Kenilworth.

The girl, who lives in the Coventry area, said she and Peters had been texting each-other, beginning with 'things in general, but then it got to rude stuff.'

She said Peters invited her to his home, so she got a bus to Kenilworth, arriving some time after 4.45, having told her mother she was going to the cinema, and in the lounge they began hugging and kissing.

In a recorded interview played to the jury she said Peters indecently assaulted her, adding: "I just thought he would think I was an idiot for not letting him, so I let him. He did not force me or anything like that."

In his evidence Peters, who said he lived in Mill End at the time, was asked by Nicholas Cartwright, defending, if he had ever allowed her there, and insisted: "No sir."

He was asked if he had ever invited her to the house or ever kissed her, and both times replied firmly: "No sir."

Peter said he and the girl had exchanged text messages, and he had sent her photo messages of himself with his cat on the sofa and of his fireplace.

He denied ever sending her messages of an indecent nature or a photo image of his genitals or his naked body.

But he said she had sent him a total of seven photo images, firstly of her face, but then 'one of her breasts semi-clothed' and later 'several of her backside clothed and unclothed.'

And Peters, who was suspended from his job after the allegation came to light in November last year, continued: "I told her she should not be sending photos like that and when they came through I deleted them from my phone."

It was pointed out that his phone record showed he had sent seven pictures to the girl, not two, but he explained he had responded to some of her pictures by using the 'reply' facility which would have sent them back with his message.

And of the day the girl said she visited him, during a weekend when his wife was away at an athletics meeting in France, he said he had watched the athletics on the television during the afternoon.

Peters said he had received a text from the girl about something she was doing the following day, and sent her a good luck message, but she did not go to his home.

He added that he then went to the Oak pub to watch a rugby international which was being televised, and had left his home to walk to the pub at about five past five, believing the game started at 5.30.

The jury had heard the girl give a description of the layout of the house in Mill End, but Mr Cartwright pointed out that the information was available in the estate agent's sales particulars because it was on the market at the time.