A MAN who was cleared of attempting to rape a woman he met in a pub says the case lost him his family and ruined his life.
Dean Emery, 52, of Campfield Road, Shoebury, was shunned by his family, found himself in debt, became depressed and turned to drink, during a two-year fight to clear his name.
He was found not guilty of attempted rape and sexual assault by a jury at Basildon Crown Court last week.
Amanhunt was launched for him in July 2012, when a 54-year-old woman told police she had been raped by a man she had met at the Sutton Arms pub, in Southchurch Road, on July 4.
After looking at evidence, police started a searched for Mr Emery, on suspicion of attempted rape. A month later he handed himself in to police when a friend, in Northampton, sawhis picture on the news.
Mr Emery said: “When I heard police were looking for me for rape I felt sick.
“Since then my life has been a mess. I lost members of my family, I had a bail condition saying I couldn’t go to certain places, so missed out on family events. My sisters and step mum wanted nothing to do with me.
“I have lost the will to live in the last 10 months.”
Father-of-five Mr Emery said he spiralled down a hole of depression and drinking, and in the last six months has drunk 12 to 16 pints a day, just to get through.
He sold all his furniture and got into debt with his council tax and water bills to fund his drinking problem, and even considered killing himself through the trial.
He said: “My dad is 83-years-old with a tumour, he’s poorly and I am a 52-year-old man having to ask him to take me to the police station and to court.
My dad is a proud Army man and this has broken him.
“There has been a few times during the trial I tried not to be here anymore. I did think about ending my life, but I have my friends who have supported me right from the start. It felt really good to have that support. They have always believed me and my kids have always believed me.”
Prosecuters accused Mr Emery of following the woman out of the pub and forcing himself on her to perform oral sex.
She said she had only gone into the pub to use the toilet, but CCTV showed her and Mr Emery talking for some time before they left together.
Mr Emery said she offered to perform the act in a car park near the Taylor Centre, in Southchurch Road, as he walked her home.
He said: “I have been married four times and never raised a hand to a woman or my kids. I have never been disrespectful to a woman. Those sorts of offences are disgusting and shouldn’t happen.
“I am ashamed of what happened, you don’t perform that type of thing in the street, but it was consensual and we had both been drinking.”
Now he is an innocent man, Mr Emery plans to pass his driving test, clear his debt and stay off alcohol.
He said he hadn’t drunk since last Wednesday.
He said: “When I got the not guilty verdict I was elated. I felt relief and a weight was lifted off my shoulders.
“I want complete closure on it. She got away with ruining my life.
Nothing will happen to her, but I have lost two years of my life. I just want it over with now and move on with my life. I want to start again and get my life back.”
SUSPECTED sexual offenders should have anonymity like their alleged victims, Mr Emery has said.
Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, victims of sexual assault have anonymity for their lifetime. However, suspects do not. The law has come under criticism by those wrongly accused.
Mr Emery said: “Suspects should be kept anonymous. I have been through two years of hell because of this. I have been approached in the street by several people, I have been spat at, I have been called names, I have been assaulted because people thought I had done it.
“The trial is all over, so why can’t she be named?
“I should be entitled to compensation for the damage she has caused. But I wouldn’t know how to go about that. I feel I am owed something.”
Crown Prosecution lawyer Suzanne Stringer said: “We accept there were difficulties in prosecuting this case, but it was our view those difficulties did not outweigh the evidence and the prosecution’s case. We are satisfied we presented our evidence correctly and clearly to the court, but it is ultimately up to the jury to determine guilt beyond all reasonable doubt.
“The jury acquitted Mr Emery after more than five hours deliberation and it was recorded as a majority verdict and not unanimous. We respect the decision of the court.”